Planning a Child Funeral

child funeral

For many families, a child funeral offers a unique opportunity to celebrate a life while providing children with a way to say goodbye. Although children can benefit from attending a ceremony, it’s important to determine whether they are ready for such an event before forcing them to go. It’s also important to give children a choice and explain what takes place at a funeral.

Regardless of whether the casket or urn is open or closed, it’s important to explain what they will see and hear. This is especially true for children who have not experienced a death before. Children have big imaginations and can often imagine things that are much scarier than the reality. Offering clear and honest information, encouraging questions, and reassuring them that their sibling can no longer feel cold, pain or fear will help to ease any anxiety they may have.

If you plan on having a closed casket, consider creating a special kids room for them to play and color during the service. This can be at the funeral home or a church and can include a play area, crafts, crayons and other fun activities. This will help distract them from the proceedings and they might be less likely to want to leave during a long service. Likewise, if you plan on having an urn present, try to have other items that remind them of their sibling (a photo board, a special teddy or toy, etc.).

While the decision to attend a funeral or memorial service is entirely up to each individual family, it’s a good idea to ask older siblings to participate. This can be by reading a story, writing a letter or poem, or just by being there to support their younger siblings. It can be a powerful and moving experience for everyone involved, including the child.

If your child decides not to attend, it’s a good idea to offer them alternatives such as a special party at your house or another location that they enjoy. If they are able to attend, make sure that someone (a designated friend or relative) can take them outside or into the hallway for a break if the proceedings become too overwhelming.

If you are thinking about having a child funeral, there are a number of options available for music. Generally, the music should be age appropriate and reflect your child’s interests and personality. It can be comforting for children to hear music they know and love during a difficult time. It’s also helpful to offer children the option of wearing a favorite outfit or bringing a picture to be placed in the casket or urn. This can help them to feel included and will be a beautiful tribute to their loved one.