How to Handle a Child Funeral

child funeral

Children are a natural part of any funeral service and there is nothing wrong with allowing them to be present at their own family member’s funeral. However, it is important to consider how your child may react to this experience and the impact that attending the funeral may have on them in the future.

If your child decides to attend the funeral, it is important to communicate this decision to those who are planning the event. They may be able to accommodate your child’s wishes to stay with a relative or friend or provide other options for them to honor their loved one, such as writing a letter, creating a memorial fund in their name, or a guestbook or video tribute to be shared during the service.

Some children will want to see their sibling’s body and this is completely normal. It is important to explain that their sibling will look different than when they were alive and that they may have scars, bumps and bruises from birth or accidents but will not feel cold or pain. If your child wants to touch their sibling, it is okay to allow them but encourage them to gently stroke their hand or hair.

Children can be unpredictable and it is helpful to have a trusted adult that they trust and know as their “funeral buddy.” This person can help them navigate the various activities and rituals of the services, answer questions, and take them for breaks when needed.

A hospital funeral is a service that is often offered by the hospitals for an additional cost. This is a beautiful option for families that wish to have their baby or stillborn child’s life celebrated with a ceremony with their parents and siblings.

When arranging a funeral it is important to understand that these events can be very expensive. It is a very emotional time and it can be difficult to make good decisions financially. Ultimately, it is your choice what you want to do for your child but if you need help, there are charities that can offer financial assistance for funeral costs.

If your child decides not to attend the funeral, it is important to discuss why with them and listen to their concerns. Be respectful of their decision and let them know that they can always come back later if they change their mind. If they have a strong desire to attend the funeral but are struggling to cope with the emotion, it is possible to incorporate them in other ways such as by reading a poem or a prayer and having a private moment with their loved one before leaving the service. Children who are old enough can also participate in the service by singing a song or delivering a speech. This can be a very meaningful way for them to say goodbye and can help them to process the grief in a safe environment.