Should You Bring Your Child to a Funeral?

Friday, September 29, 2017
Many children have their first introduction to the concept of death when a loved one dies. This can be a significant and frightening experience for a child. Learn how to decide whether to take your child to the funeral and how to prepare them for the experience.

Should Your Child Attend a Funeral?

The decision of whether to allow your child to attend the funeral is always a personal one, which you can determine based on your child's age and maturity. In general, if you think it will help your child grieve by attending the funeral, take them. If you think the experience will be more traumatic, leave them at home.

Explain What's Happening

Funerals can be confusing and stressful for children. Explain what will happen, and set expectations for their behavior during and after the funeral service. By telling your child that people will be sad and it's okay to cry, for example, you're allowing them to process their feelings naturally.

Explain Death in an Age-Appropriate Way

If this is your child's first experience with death and dying, they may have questions. Explain the concepts in a way that reflects your personal beliefs and is age-appropriate, so your child will understand. Engage your child in a conversation. This allows your child to explore their experience on a level that feels appropriate for them.

Be Prepared to Continue the Discussion

Your children may want to continue talking about the funeral after it is over. Be there for them while they navigate their feelings around death and mortality. It's natural for children to struggle with understanding death.

By helping your child process the death of a loved one, you can make the experience more manageable for them and explore your own grief, too.

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