Dealing with the death of a loved one is challenging for every member of the family, especially children. Traditional funeral services can be intimidating or scary, and kids may not completely understand the situation or know how to behave. It’s important to be a gentle and loving guide, particularly if it’s your children’s first experience with loss. Follow these do’s and don’ts to help them through the process.
Involve Them In the Process
Once children understand a loved one has passed away, they may be very upset. Allowing them to participate in traditional funeral services can make children feel like they’re assisting with an important job. Let them say a few words during the memorial service, select songs, choose the food, or pick a special item to put in the casket or place on the monument. Giving children the power to help can ease the grieving process.
Show Your Support
Bereaved children need to know their feelings matter. Giving physical affection, like a warm hug or touch on the shoulder, can reaffirm you care about them without having to say anything. Also, be honest about your feelings; let your child know you’re sad, too, and that it’s okay to be upset.
Some children may be upset that someone has left them and not want to participate in the memorial service or funeral. Encourage them to join, but don’t admonish them if they want to be left alone. If your child is shy but wants to participate, many funeral directors are willing to arrange a special viewing and even help explain the process.
Be Dishonest About Death
It may seem easier to tell children that their deceased friend or relative is “sleeping” or “away on a trip,” but it’s important to be honest about death. Use short and simple explanations through your belief system. It may be helpful to use a short story or book to guide the process. Be patient and let your child ask as many questions necessary to understand the situation fully.
Saying goodbye doesn’t get easier, but preparing yourself and your children for the steps ahead can support the healing process. Clancy-Palumbo Funeral Home, in East Haven, CT, helps families create a celebration of life that serves as a beautiful testament to your loved one’s memory. Their compassionate staff will help guide you through the planning process from start to finish, so you can focus on spending time with friends and family. For assistance with arranging traditional funeral services, visit them online or call (203) 467-2789.