Helping children understand and come to terms with the realities of death can be a challenge. It’s important to give young ones the chance to fully grasp what’s going on by being honest and forthright with them. That’s particularly true if they plan to attend the funeral service. You can help them prepare with these thoughtful ideas.
How to Speak to Your Kids About Funerals
1. Explain What Happened
Although it may be difficult, it’s important to be honest with your child about the concept of death. Don’t try to mask it with words that don’t truly touch on the actual event. Saying the person is “sleeping,” for example, might frighten a child into believing that people may never wake up when they go to bed at night. Explain the nature of it in gentle terms. You might say that the person’s heart no longer works, and their other body parts stopped functioning. You may also explain that while the body might be gone, the beautiful memories they shared with the person will remain forever.
2. Prepare for the Service
The best way to prepare for the funeral service is to explain to your child what to expect. Tell them it’s to celebrate the person’s life and provide everyone who knew and loved the person a chance to say a proper goodbye. Share who’ll be there and how the service will unfold. Although some parents may be comfortable with kids of any age attending a funeral, you may wish to keep them in the back of the room if there’s an open casket and you’re concerned they might not handle it well. Explain to them that there might be eulogies, religious songs or readings, and many people crying. Reassure them that it’s normal for people to cry together at funerals and share their feelings. Remind them that they aren’t alone and that you’ll be at their side the entire time.
3. Involve Them in Some Way
There are no rules when it comes to children attending funeral services. Some may wish to be more involved in the planning process, especially if they were very close to the deceased and want to show their love and respect. You might allow them to greet people as they arrive at the funeral home. Older kids may even want to say a few words in memory of the person. If your child does not wish to attend at all, reassure them that this is completely fine.
If you want care and quality service during your time of grief, Arndt Funeral Home in Rochester, NY, has been dedicated to serving families since 1975. Their compassionate staff will work closely with you to arrange a funeral service for your loved one and can also assist in selecting a casket or cremation urn. Visit them online for information, or call (585) 225-6350 to speak with a representative.