Should Children Attend a Child Funeral?

When a child passes away, parents have to make many decisions that can be very hard for everyone involved. One of the most significant is organising the funeral ceremony. This can be a powerful and healing experience, allowing the family to find closure and begin the journey into adulthood. However, deciding whether or not to bring a child to the ceremony can be a difficult decision for families. Children are often more resilient than we realise, and may well be better able to cope with the situation than adults would expect.

Regardless of age, it is important to prepare a child for the experience ahead of time. This can be done by explaining in simple terms what will happen and allowing them to ask questions. It is also helpful to let them know that people grieve differently and that it’s OK to cry. It’s a good idea to explain that they may see adults and other children crying during the service. It is also important to discuss proper funeral etiquette, which may include avoiding loud talking and laughing, as well as not looking at or touching the casket.

Some families choose to bury their child with a special teddy or toy that they will keep forever, and others write a letter or poem for them. These can be read during the ceremony or placed in the coffin or urn. It is also possible to include flowers, music and candles in the service.

It is often a comfort for siblings to be present for the ceremony, and it can be an opportunity for them to say goodbye to their brother or sister. If a child chooses not to attend the ceremony, it is important to give them a choice and to be honest with them. If you are unsure whether or not your child will handle the experience, consider offering them an alternative, such as a trip to a fun park.

If you are bringing your child to the ceremony, it is a good idea to assign someone who will take them out of the service should they become overwhelmed. This person could be a family member, friend or even a babysitter. Make sure that they have a way to contact you in case of an emergency, and that they are familiar with the funeral venue.

Depending on the circumstances, it is sometimes appropriate to have your child at the ceremony. This is especially true if they have a healthy relationship with their sibling, or if the ceremony will be led by an experienced celebrant or officiator who is familiar with infants and children. In this situation, it is also a good idea to notify guests of the child’s presence so that they can offer their support accordingly. You might also wish to include a statement on the invitation about the need for quiet and respectful behavior from the children in attendance. This will help to minimize the amount of tense and uncomfortable moments at the ceremony.