Funerals are difficult. No one likes going to them. But they do give us an excellent way to honor and remember our loved ones. When our children are very young, we often choose to attend a funeral without them.
But at some point, when they are older, or when someone incredibly important to them has passed away, we consider letting them attend. If your child is about to attend their first funeral, here are some of the things that you can do to help them.
Make Sure You Know What to Expect
Funerals aren’t all the same. While most follow a similar road map, the details can be significantly different. It can be a good idea to visit the funeral home even if you aren’t involved in planning the ceremony.
Speak to Ingram Funeral Home about what to expect, ask whoever is planning the funeral if there’s going to be a cremation or burial and if they are having a celebration of life service with an obituary. The more you know about the service, the better you’ll be able to prepare your child.
Give Your Child Plenty of Information
If your child has never been to a funeral before, they might have little idea of what to expect. Talk to them about all the different elements, not just of this particular service, but of funerals and burials in general.
Spend time talking about your own beliefs, and that of different cultures and give them time to ask you any questions that they might have. If there’s anything that you don’t know, find out together.
Ask if They Want to Go
You might have some ideas about whether your child is old enough and mature enough to attend a funeral. But at the end of the day, it should be their choice.
After you’ve told them as much as you can about funerals, what is going to happen at this one, and explained that it’s a chance to celebrate their loved one’s life, as well as say goodbye, let them make the choice for themselves. Make sure they know that they can change their mind at any time.
Consider Other Options
If your child isn’t sure, or you don’t think that their attending is a good idea, consider other options. Perhaps they could attend the wake, but not the service. Maybe you could take them to the graveside later when there’s no one else around.
Talk about these options with them so that they can make an informed choice. Make sure they know that they can still remember and say goodbye to their loved ones if they don’t go to the service.
Make Arrangements for the Day
Traveling can be more complicated when you have children, so make sure you know how you’ll be getting to and from the funeral. If it’s a close relative or friend that has passed away, and you are involved in the funeral, you may not be able to be as close to your child as you might like, so make sure you’ve got someone else that they trust and feel comfortable with, who will sit with and take care of them.
This will be a difficult day for your child, so make sure they are armed with information and support, and that they know that they can ask to leave at any point.