Should my child attend a funeral?

One of the most frequently asked questions by parents, caregivers and people who support bereaved children and young people is, “Should I take my child to the funeral?” When deciding whether your child should attend a funeral or memorial service, age is not the most important consideration. Your child is part of the family, and children who are old enough to love are old enough to grieve. Going to a funeral can help children understand the finality of death and joining family and friends in saying goodbye.

No child is too young to attend a funeral, provided that the child is prepared and guided through the whole process. Parents try to protect their children through upset however shutting children out makes them feel alone. Children who are not allowed to attend a funeral may feel they didn’t get their chance to say goodbye however, children who are forced to attend a funeral may feel resentful. Children should not be criticized if they don’t want to attend the funeral. They may regret the decisions they make, Talk with your children about:

What… is going to happen?

Who… will be at the funeral or memorial service?

Where… will the service take place?

When… will the funeral happen?

Why… are we doing this?

If your funeral director provides such a service, he or she may be willing to meet with the children to explain what happens before and after a funeral.