Table 1.

Overview of Children's Concepts of Death

Age Range,
0 to 2Death is perceived as separation or abandonment
Protest and despair from disruption in care-taking
No cognitive understanding of death
2 to 6Death is reversible or temporary
Death is personified and often seen as punishment
Magical thinking that wishes can come true
6 to 11Gradual awareness of irreversibility and finality
Specific death of self or loved one difficult to understand
Concrete reasoning with ability to see cause-and-effect relationships
Older than 11Death is irreversible, universal, and inevitable
All people and self must die, although latter is far off
Abstract and philosophical reasoning