Preparing Children For a Child Funeral

child funeral

The funeral service is a very important time to say goodbye to your loved one. It is also a time to share memories and celebrate the life that has been lived. If you have children who will be attending, it is important to prepare them for the services in advance. Children respond differently to grief, and their reactions may be unexpected. They often need more support than adults, and they may be confused by the process and the various rituals that take place at the funeral and memorial services.

Explain what they will see before, during and after the funeral ceremony. This will help them understand that they are not alone and can be open about their feelings and questions. If they are able to view the body during visitation or the funeral, describe what it will look like, including any special clothing, shoes and jewelry that might be worn. If they will not be able to view the body, discuss what they will see, such as an urn on a memorial table or photo boards.

Some families choose to include a religious service at the funeral or memorial services, and this is often comforting to children. Depending on the religious tradition, you might explain that this is an opportunity to say goodbye and ask for prayers from family and friends. If you want to incorporate a eulogy or tribute from a close friend or relative, this is a wonderful way for older children to say their final farewells and to honor the memory of your child.

It is very important to reassure the children that although they will feel sad, it is okay to laugh and enjoy other people’s company. At the funeral, they will probably see a wide range of emotions from other people, and it is important to reassure them that it is normal for everyone to feel sad at times and then laugh at other times.

Young children often have a difficult time understanding that their sibling has died and will never return to life again. They may want to touch the deceased person, but it is important to remind them that their body is cold and stiff. If they do touch the body, it is a good idea to make sure they are wearing clothes so that their skin is not rubbed or scratched.

For very young children, it may be helpful to appoint an adult buddy to accompany them throughout the various services and activities. This trusted companion can answer any of their questions and offer extra attention and affection, if needed.

The buddy can also provide an escape route if your child becomes overwhelmed or needs to leave for a short period of time. The buddy should be familiar with your child’s temperament and personality. A family member, close friend or a staff member of the funeral home can be your child’s buddy.