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Talking to Your Child About Attending their First Funeral

Talking to Your Child About Attending their First Funeral

Funerals can be difficult for children who have never attended one, so if a loved one has passed away. Your family plans on attending the funeral services; you should talk to your child first to prepare them for what’s ahead and quell any fears and uncertainties they may feel. Whether planning a funeral with one of the many types of funeral services available or simply attending, check out the tips below for talking to your child about attending their first funeral.

Attending their First Funeral

Explaining Death to Your Children

When explaining death to your children, you should do so in the same way that you’d explain other topics with your child, particularly life’s milestones. The facts should be offered in an honest, non-threatening, simple, and straightforward manner, and you should be caring and willing to answer questions. Remember, children can often tell when their parents aren’t telling the truth.

Also, your child may already know something about death, so you should find out what they know first and then encourage your child to share their fears, observations, and thoughts during and after the funeral services.


Let Them Know What to Expect

After discussing what death is to your child, you can discuss what they should expect when attending the funeral service. For example, you can talk about what the ritual ultimately signifies, why the services are done the way they’re done, and why so many people gather to remember the deceased individual.

If your family is planning on attending a wake during which there will be an open casket, you should inform your child that they should expect to see that as well. This way, they won’t be surprised to see the deceased in the funeral home if they only wish for a closed casket. Let your child know that this is done to see the person for one last time and give people the opportunity to say goodbye.

Prepare Your Child for the Cremation of the Burial

Children who have never attended a funeral may not comprehend where the body goes after the funeral services, so whether your loved one will be buried or cremated, you should explain this aspect of the funeral to your child as well.

Let your child know what happens during the cremation process and why people choose to be cremated. In the same way, please help your child understand the burial process and that everyone will be able to visit the deceased’s grave to pay their respects whenever they want to.

By preparing your child for their first funeral, you can take the mystery and the fear out of the event. This will be an important milestone in your child’s life, so discussing what it all means and what your child should expect will make the process easier for everyone involved.

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