Very interested in your thoughts on when and how to introduce the concept of death/mortality to toddlers (if at all).
I have a very bright and spirited 2 year old DD (turning 3 in March) and I have always loosely gone with the honesty is the best policy, keeping things age appropriate of course.
In the past couple of weeks I have had two occasions where for the first time in her more recent life I had to choose whether to introduce the concept of death or avoid it, and both times I have chosen to avoid it.
The first occasion was when we went to check on her baby chickens only to discover a fox had taken them all (leaving two dead in the run) overnight. Thankfully I saw the carnage before she did and had a chance to hurriedly redirect her, but she found it very confusing that we were off to check the chickens and then all of a sudden we were off to check the vegetable garden! I actually started to gently explain what had happened, but then couldn't bring myself to crush her like that and instead told her the chickens had escaped into the bush. I am pretty sure she knows something is suss about my story, but with time and reinforcement she seems to have accepted it.
The second occasion was last weekend on what would have been my mother's birthday. My mum passed away when I was only two so DD's knowledge of her is limited to a photo in her room. I have told DD who the photo is of when DD was much younger, but we haven't really spoken about mum lately. Being mum's birthday I naturally would normally go and visit her grave but that would have involved taking DD. I just felt totally unprepared to explain the cemetery, death etc so I just didn't go.
I don't know if my ability to make a judgement call on when and how to explain to DD is coloured somewhat by the fact that death has always been part of my life from as young as I can remember (ie. I have no memories of my mum, so death/dying was part of my reality from a very young age), and my mum's passing has obviously had a major impact on my life (although I have known no different)
Anyways, after that novel, I guess I am just wondering what age you think it is appropriate to burst their bubble so to speak, and how would you go about doing it?