How to Arrange a Child Funeral

A child funeral is one of the most difficult things for parents to arrange, often in the wake of a stillbirth. For many, their whole lives revolved around the hopes and dreams of this little one. When they die, the whole world turns upside down and is a very surreal experience.

The most important thing is to listen to a child’s wishes. They may say they do not want to go or that it will be too painful. Then try to help them work through those feelings and explain the reason behind the decision. It is also a good idea to discuss what the funeral or memorial service will be like and how long it will last. It is important to give children a chance to see and interact with their deceased sibling, so it is possible for them to say goodbye.

It is helpful to remember that a child funeral is much like any other new experience for kids. They need time to get used to the concept of a funeral and what it will involve before they can decide whether they want to attend or not. Forcing a child to attend is not helpful and can be quite distressing. It is better to allow them to make a choice and give them a chance to prepare themselves ahead of time.

This may include a visit to the crematorium or cemetery and talking about what they will see there. Some children are able to handle seeing their sibling’s body in a casket, but others may not be able to and will be very upset. Be sure to talk about what they will be able to do, such as touch the body or kiss it, and that at some point the lid will close and not be opened again.

If a child does decide to attend the funeral, it is a good idea for them to stay with a familiar person or family member and not be left alone. They should also have a way to escape the situation if it becomes too much for them, such as leaving the room or going outside.

If they are old enough, it can be very comforting for a child to play a role in the funeral service. This could be as simple as reading a poem or giving a speech. Alternatively, they can draw pictures, write letters or leave a personal memento in the casket or urn. This is a way for them to express their grief and will be very meaningful to them. It is also a good idea to have a snack available for them, in case they become hungry. This can help them focus during the funeral or memorial service and not become overly emotional. Lastly, make sure to have a plan B in place in case they decide to not attend the funeral or memorial service and have something special planned for them instead. This can be as low key or as extravagant as you would like it to be.