A child funeral is one of the most devastating experiences a family can go through. It can be a challenging time as you grieve, but it also provides an opportunity to celebrate your child’s life and say goodbye.
How to plan a child funeral
Your first step is to decide what type of service you want. This can vary greatly depending on the individual needs and wishes of the family. Some people prefer a traditional service, while others may be more comfortable with a more informal gathering.
What to tell your children about a funeral
It is important to explain all aspects of the funeral to your children in a way that they understand. The key is to ensure that they feel they are able to ask questions and make their own decisions.
Talking about death is never easy, and the topic can be particularly difficult for young children. However, with some support from you and your family, they can be empowered to take part in the funeral.
Explaining where the body will be buried or cremated is very important to reassure your children that there will be no pain or fear in their sibling’s final journey. If possible, try and give them a tour of the crematorium or cemetery before the funeral. This will help them to imagine that the place where their sibling’s body will be buried or cremated is peaceful and beautiful.
Be prepared to discuss how they can participate in the funeral if they would like to, such as offering a poem or reading a story. They can even offer to light a candle or say a prayer.
You can also encourage your children to take some action at the funeral to honour their sibling, such as writing a special message or holding a photo in an urn. They can do this in any way they feel most comfortable, but you will need to ensure that these activities are not too intrusive and that your child is not made to feel like they are being asked to perform or be a part of the service.
The most important thing is to explain that your child has a choice and that they can change their mind at any time, and they are allowed to have their own thoughts and feelings about the service.
Your child will see a variety of emotions at the funeral, including tears and laughter. They will also hear some of their favourite songs played, and see other people paying their respects.
Keeping your child safe
You should provide a safe place for your child to sit and relax during the service, as well as a quiet area with toys and books. If you can, try and find a friend or family member to be an extra sitter for your child during the service. This can be very helpful, and if the funeral is being held at a church or other religious setting, this may be an especially useful option.