A child funeral can be a difficult time for both children and parents. Children may have never been to a funeral before, so they can have questions and doubts about their role in the service. Fortunately, there are ways to make the experience more meaningful for the children, and allow them to feel included and supported.
Funerals for children can be planned in a way that is best for the children and the family. Some families opt to hold a small private ceremony at home, while others go to the cemetery to mark the occasion. Depending on the family’s wishes, the service can be simple, or involve musical talent from the local high school band or choir.
As with all ceremonies, the child’s participation in the service will be dependent on their age and their comfort level. It is important for the parents to explain the details of the funeral to their child and encourage them to ask questions. This can help them to understand what they are going through and can ease their fears. The order of events should be outlined, and if they need to leave early, an adult can be available to take them.
A child’s involvement in the funeral service can include helping to decide on the type of service. Some families opt to have a closed casket and floral arrangements, while others choose a traditional mass. They can also help to decide on the music and readings.
During the service, you can have children write messages to be inserted in the casket or the urn. You can also read poems or favorite books, sing songs or tell stories about the deceased. For younger children, you can have a story time during the service.
A child’s involvement in the memorialization process can be guided by their age, comfort level, interests, and even their favorite color, cartoon character, or sports team. Whether the child is involved in deciding on flowers, the service, or the funeral, it is important for the child to be empowered.
While attending a child’s funeral can be tough for a child, it can also provide a way for them to connect with other grieving families. By sharing the details of the death and discussing the details of the funeral, they can start to understand that they are not alone.
A child’s involvement in the planning of the funeral is an essential step for all concerned. Not only can it provide a sense of comfort, it can also offer support and assistance to grieving parents.
When deciding on how to plan the child’s funeral, you can take advantage of resources such as Choices in Arranging a Child’s Funeral, an informational booklet offered by Red Nose Grief and Loss Services. There are many helpful ideas in the booklet that can guide you through the process. Taking advantage of the information it contains can provide a lasting tribute to the child and help the family move on from the loss.