As a parent of a young child, you may be unsure if your son or daughter is emotionally ready to attend a funeral, or if they will benefit from the sense of closure we experience as adults. Let’s set aside your child’s capacity to behave at grown-up gatherings for a moment and focus on why funerals are special events that many children remember as a positive experience as they grow up.

Help your child understand what to expect at the funeral

When children have information, they’re more likely to adapt to new situations. Have a frank talk with your child and explain to them what a funeral is, why we have them and what it’s like to attend one. If there will be an open casket, explain in plain terms to your child how their loved one will look and feel.

If there will be a burial, explain the tradition to your child, and perhaps visit a cemetery with them, so they’ll be familiar with the setting. If you are among the immediate family or have their permission, a private viewing before the services is the perfect way to either let your child say goodbye, or give them the chance to become comfortable in the presence of the deceased.

How do you know if your child is ready for a funeral? If they are old enough to engage in the above conversations and ask questions about death and funerals, they’re more than likely able to tell you whether they’ll be comfortable attending funeral services.

Support your child at the funeral

If you decide together that they will join you, bring along one or two toys or, if the child is older, a favorite book with which they can quietly occupy themselves during the services, reception or wake. When it’s time to view the body, invite the child to join you. If they want to stay behind, let them. But if they do go, they might want to touch their loved one, or even give them a final kiss. Explain that it’s OK, and assist them as necessary.

How can we support you as a parent?

At Strouf Funeral Home, we want your family to experience the emotional catharsis and closure funerals provide, as well as the opportunity to gather among loved ones. We encourage children of all ages to attend, and we’re here for you if you have any questions about preparing your child for a funeral. Contact us today for help with any of your funeral service needs.