Talking to your child about death

Actress Alysia Reiner gives her thoughts on talking to children about death
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Talking to your child about death

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I think, with kids, one of the most important things we can do is ask them questions and see what they think and really ask before we tell. That's one of the biggest things I really try and do with my daughter is, you know, "What do you think? What do you think about death?" So that, then you have a platform to start with to know where to go with them. I think one of the other things that's really a beautiful model for kids around death is the life cycles of life. Everything has a beginning, a middle and an end. Flowers do, people do, you know, everything does. And, that is something with my daughter that she could really hang on to-everything has a beginning, a middle, and an end. And that then brought up a lot of questions for her that then started the dialogue and made it really easy for us to have a vocabulary-everything has a beginning, a middle, and an end. There's a great book called "Life Cycles" that really sort of illustrates this, and we, I bought that book when she was six months old before anyone died because I wanted to have that tool in the house. And then, I'll never forget when she was about a year, a bird banged into our front door and died. And it was really profound for her to see. It was the first time she saw something dead. She brought it up a lot and that's when we started that conversation about beginnings, middles and ends and everything that happens to everything. And then, it became about asking her questions. "What do you think happens?", you know, and letting her fill in the blanks because, I don't know if I know anymore than she does, you know, and she might know a lot more than I do about what's up where. And I think letting her have her imagination about that for as long as possible is really rich.

Actress Alysia Reiner gives her thoughts on talking to children about death

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Alysia Reiner

Mother & Actress

Alysia is an award winning actress, producer, mother, humanitarian, and outspoken environmentalist. As an actress her work is prolific, she’s appeared on screen and stage, has won awards and rave reviews, and has even been suggested on IMDB as one of top 3 picks for the next “Bond Girl.” She is still often recognized as Christine, Thomas Hayden Church’s fiancee and then bride in the Oscar-winning cult film favorite “Sideways,” for which she won a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance for an Ensemble Cast.

She is currently shooting her second season of ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, playing FIG, the assistant warden in the new series by Jenji Kohan who created WEEDS,  and she just wrapped the film LIFE ITSELF with Morgan Freeman and Diane Keaton. Reiner has roles in a slew of  upcoming films including Martin Scorsese’s REVENGE OF THE GREEN DRAGONS, THE GIRL IN THE BOOK, and KELLY AND CAL, playing opposite Juliette Lewis. She also stars in THAT AKWARD MOMENT with Zac Efron in theatres now.

Alysia’s other film credits include the period thriller “Primrose Lane,” ”Backwards” with James Van Der Beek, “Not For Nothing,” “Schooled,” “Arranged,” “Kissing Jessica Stein,” “One Last Thing,” “The A List,”  “For Love of the Game” with Kevin Costner, “Row Your Boat” with Jon Bon Jovi, “The Narrow Gate,” “Little Pieces,” “Hourly Rates,” “3 Body Problem,” “The Stand In,” and Lee Toland Krieger’s “The Vicious Kind,” nominated for two independent Spirit Awards.

While currently shooting the role of Natalie “Fig” Figueroa on “Orange Is The New Black”, Alysia’s many other TV recurring and guest star roles include “Blue Bloods,” “The Sopranos,” “30 Rock,” “Law & Order” (multiple episodes on regular, CI & SVU), “White Collar,” “Love Monkey,” “The Drew Carey Show,” “The Practice,” “The Exes,” “The Starter Wife,” “The Jury,” “Family Law,” “Jack & Jill,” and series lead in the pilot “An Englishman in New York.” 

Alysia has appeared on stages around the country; from the Sundance Filmmakers Lab in Utah to the famed Apollo Theatre in Harlem NYC. She’s graced stages around the world too, from The Edinburgh Festival in Scotland to The Royal Court Theatre in London. Among her many theatrical roles, she starred in the New York Premiere of “Pentecost” by Tony-winning playwright David Edgar, and starred in the provocative two character play “An Oak Tree” with Tim Crouch which won a Special Obie Award. Her portrayal of June Miller in “Anais Nin: One Of Her Lives” was critically acclaimed, as was her turn in “Wasps In Bed” at The Beckett Theater, of which the New York Times wrote “Alysia Reiner is priceless.”  She originated the title role of Tina Modotti in “Modotti,” and other New York theater includes “A Charity Case,” “Hillary: A Modern Greek Tragedy With A Somewhat Happy Ending” at The Public Theater, “Jayson With a Y,” “Manhattan Cassanova” with Mercedes Ruehl, and “Love in the Age of Narcissism” and “Dating Games,” both with her husband, actor David Alan Basche.

“Speed Grieving,” the award winning short film that Alysia created, produced and stars in, had it’s world premiere at The Hamptons International Film Festival, has screened at over a dozen more film festivals, and is now used as a grief counseling tool in every Cancer Support Community center in the country.

She is a contributor to the Huffington Post and Maria Shriver’s Website, and has been featured on CNN, People.com, Celebrity Baby Scoop, Stroller Traffic, Healthy Child Healthy World, Family Focus Blog, Today I ate a Rainbow, Your Green Baby, and others. She is also a celebrity green momma spokesperson for Best For Babes, an organization that works to change how we view and support breast feeding, and gives moms the solutions they need to make it work.

Alysia is a champion of all things eco-friendly, and she and her husband used their own home as a way to share information about building green. Their brownstone renovation in Harlem was featured on television’s “World’s Greenest Homes,”  ”HOME & FAMILY“ and “Renovation Nation;” in various magazines like Dwell, Gotham, and The Nest; and they allowed the environmentally friendly construction process to be chronicled on Web sites such as Dwell.com and Kohler.com.

She was recently recognized as an INTELLIGENT OPTIMIST in Ode Magazine and profiled by New York Women in Film and Television as a woman to watch.

Alysia is on the board of The Broad Collective, and is involved with many charities including The Cancer Support Community, Women’s Prison Association, Actors For Autism, The Young Women’s Leadership Network, Amnesty International, Our Time Theatre Company,  Whitehead Institute of Biomedical Research, Joyful Heart Foundation, GEMS, and Circle of Health International.

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