Planning a Child Funeral

A child funeral is a way to honor and celebrate the life of a baby or young child who died during pregnancy or after birth. It can also be an opportunity to bring children’s views, ideas and feelings into the funeral service itself. It’s a chance for parents and other loved ones to explain the funeral process, and answer any questions or concerns children may have. This approach can help children feel like their wishes are being respected, and it can help adults feel more comfortable around them.

Many children are afraid of the sight of a casket. It’s important to explain that their sibling is not actually dead, but simply lying in a box that is very peaceful and restful. It can also be helpful to let kids know that their sibling’s body will be cool to the touch, and that touching is okay if they choose to do so. It is also a good idea to note any marks or scars on the body that may comfort children.

If a child feels overwhelmed during the service, they can always go and play in the room set aside for them, or outside, where there will be an adult who is familiar with their needs. It’s also a good idea to assign one person as their “funeral buddy,” someone who will not be leaving the service during services and can help explain different rituals to them.

It is also a good idea to talk with a funeral director in advance about the child’s wishes and plans, including whether or not they would like to see the body, or be involved in the ceremony in any way. This will help the funeral director make suggestions that will be meaningful to your child and provide you with a better sense of what options are available for your family.

When children have the opportunity to participate in a service, they often find it more empowering than just watching others do something they might not want to do. For example, some shyer children might be encouraged to light a candle or share a memory on a message board, while more outgoing children might be invited to place a flower on the casket or urn.

It is important to remember that children can be very honest with their emotions, so it’s okay if they aren’t always in the mood for talking about the deceased. Even though some of their responses might seem blunt or hurtful, it’s vital to listen to them and allow them to express themselves in their own way. It’s important to respect their choice and never force a child to attend a funeral, as this can have negative long-term consequences. If a child does decide not to go, it’s a good idea to discuss with them what will happen if they change their mind, and to come up with an alternative that feels right to both of you. This could include staying with a friend, or watching the service live-streamed or recorded and watched at home later.