Should Kids Attend a Funeral?
When someone in your family or circle of friends dies, you will probably make it a priority to attend the funeral or memorial service. But what happens if your children knew the deceased? You may wonder whether they should attend the ceremony. The decision is personal, varying greatly based on several factors. Here are a few helpful tips about children and funerals.
Here are a few questions to consider as you ponder the question:
How well did the child know the deceased?
Death and the rituals surrounding it are a natural part of life. So, if your children were well acquainted with the person who died, don’t be afraid to include them in the formal act of saying goodbye. Like adults, many kids appreciate closure. Even if the kids didn’t know the person who passed, the service could be a good primer relative to funeral etiquette, without the associated emotional entanglements.
How mature is the child?
More than just age, consider each child’s emotional maturity before taking them to a memorial service. While some five-year-olds can sit quietly for hours, others fidget and could distract mourners. Also, consider that grief is a very personal process, no matter someone’s age. That’s why some families bypass memorial services altogether. If you think your child is mature enough to understand the ramifications of funeral attendance, ask him if he wants to go. Then, respect his decision.
Do family and friends planning the service want to include kids?
Remember, when you attend a funeral service, you are doing so not only to grieve but also to comfort the family of the deceased. For this reason, don’t make the mistake of ignoring their wishes. If possible, ask them whether they want kids to attend the service. On the other hand, if you do not have the ability to reach out or are not close enough to ask, consider bringing your child to another memorial service. In this case, you are better safe than sorry. People who are grieving have enough on their plates without having to process unnecessary stress. A good rule of thumb is to take a cue from the family rather than making your decision in a vacuum.
At Foothill Funeral & Cremation, we encourage kids to participate, as they usually are left out of the process.
We offer parents/guardians resources, ask kids to write letters, decorate the casket, create art or collect mementos to place in the casket or cremation container, to be kept with their loved one. This helps give them some closure in this touch situation.
For young children, ages 3-5 we have a great resource from Sesame Street – free grief kits for parents and caregivers. These include materials in English and Spanish, a special DVD for the child, and illustrated booklets for the parent/caregiver. These are always free for families in need.
About Foothill Funeral & Cremation Services
We would love to help you at your time of need or in the future. Drop by our Glendora showroom any time. In Covina, our relationship with Sacred Heart Chapel is the perfect place for mourners to host funerals and memorial services in a grandiose yet intimate setting. We proudly serve the San Gabriel Valley, San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles Basin, Orange County and the Inland Empire. Working in the mortuary industry since 1996, we have worked hard to build a reputation of quality, sincerity and trust. We would be honored to help you at your time of need or in the future. Call today (626) 335-0615 or drop by our showroom.