A Child Funeral is a Way of Saying Goodbye

When a child passes away, the parents and other loved ones are faced with an extremely difficult decision. One of the most important decisions that is often made is to have a funeral service, a memorial or some other way of remembering and saying goodbye. This is often the first time a child has to face death and it can be a very overwhelming experience for them.

A child funeral is a way of saying goodbye in a way that’s more meaningful and appropriate for the child, their family and friends. It can take different forms and be held in any setting that is comfortable for the family. This may be at the graveside, a funeral venue, in the garden or somewhere else that is meaningful. It can involve family and close friends in a farewell ceremony or simply include a few people they know. It can be as long or short as it takes and it’s a time to share photos, anecdotes and memories.

If a child is going to attend the funeral, make sure they are aware that it will be very quiet and that they need to sit still for a while. It’s also a good idea to explain what will happen: where they will go, who they will see and why it is happening. The more prepared they are the less they will be fearful of what will be happening.

It’s especially important to be honest if the child will be seeing their sibling in a casket. It’s best to offer a clear explanation that their sibling’s body will be in a coffin or a container, that it won’t be cold and that it is their sibling’s body but they don’t need to touch it. It’s also a good idea if you can to reassure the child that their sibling doesn’t feel any pain anymore and if they are uncomfortable with the sight of their body it’s okay for them to leave the funeral or memorial service at any time.

Children of this age often have lots of questions and can feel overwhelmed during a funeral or memorial service, even when there is plenty of reassurance that it’s okay to be sad. It’s often helpful to have someone with them who can read a book, play with a favourite toy or take them outside if they need a break.

It’s often a good idea to give the children of this age an opportunity to participate in the funeral service by lighting a candle, placing a flower or writing a message on a message board or matted picture frame. It can help them process their feelings and it gives them a sense of ownership over the event. It’s a good idea to ask them about their favourite things about the person who has died so they can feel like they are contributing something positive to the service and that it is for them too. Children can also be involved in a service by helping to choose the music, reading prayers or a tribute poem.