How to Organise a Child Funeral

child funeral

A child funeral is a very personal event, tailored to your family’s needs. You can choose a service in a place of worship, a funeral home, community venue or even hold a memorial at your own home. You can also choose a funeral director, independent celebrant or even a close friend or family member to lead the ceremony. If you decide to go with a religious funeral, your chosen priest or celebrant will help you design a ceremony that feels right for you and your baby.

It is important that you talk to your child about what will happen. Children often have questions and concerns, so if you can answer their questions in a clear, simple way it will make them feel more prepared. It is also helpful to visit the cemetery or crematorium with them so they know where it will be held and can look at what it will be like.

Most people will choose a coffin for their baby, although some parents prefer a urn. You can decorate it with flowers or special items that your child loved, such as a favourite toy or balloons. Many families also like to write a letter for their baby or young child, which can be placed in the coffin or urn. This is a chance to say ‘I love you’ one last time. Siblings may also want to write a message or poem for their brother or sister. These letters can be kept in a memory box afterwards.

You should also consider whether you want a guest speaker at the funeral. This is a great opportunity to share the story of your child, and it can comfort other people too. However, if you don’t feel up to speaking at the funeral, don’t let anyone discourage you. It is more important that you speak from the heart than to try and sound ‘professional’.

Children can sometimes become restless or bored at a funeral so it is a good idea to bring something that will keep them occupied. A book, a favourite toy or even a small snack could help. It is also worth bringing an extra adult with you who can take care of them, especially during any pauses in the service when they may be tempted to wander off.

Many people find that a spiritual element is very comforting at a funeral, so you should decide if you would like to have a reading or prayers or not. You should also choose someone to carry your child out of the ceremony if they become distressed or overwhelmed, and you may wish to ask this person to stay with them after the service too. Finally, it is a good idea to protect your child from fawning sentimentality by not letting other mourners touch them or give too many hugs. This is particularly important if you have other young children. If you are going to enlist help, make sure they have a quiet space to retreat to when needed.