Even the most secure and happy children could easily get nervous about the idea of attending their first funeral. Be proactive in preparing a child for a funeral to ensure that they can deal with this sad tradition in a way that enables them to express their feelings without getting overwhelmed with grief.
Keep Your Explanations Simple
Children may attend a funeral without being fully aware of what is going on. They will understand that it's a good-bye process, but all kids will have a different level of comprehension of the funeral service. A grieving child who understands what's going on at a funeral needs extra attention. Take the lead from your child and satisfy their curiosity without handing out information that may be too much for them to handle.
Take Your Child to a Funeral Home
If a child is especially nervous, you may want to take the child to the funeral home before the time of the funeral to walk around the grounds and talk about what is going to happen. Speak to the funeral director before showing up if you want to go inside. It can be a good opportunity for a child to get adjusted to the environment and open up, providing you a chance to talk about your opinion on death and how to cope.
Ask Your Children Questions
It's important to encourage your child to ask you any questions they may have about the funeral. However, some kids may have a difficult time putting words to their fears and formulating exact questions to get answers that will soothe them. Try asking children these questions to encourage them to open up, so you can talk to them about their feelings:
- I sure miss (Name of the Deceased Person). Do you miss them?
- Have any of your friends ever talked about going to a funeral?
- How do you think most people will be feeling today at the funeral?
- Would you like to help pick out flowers for us to bring?
- What do you think we should do after the funeral?
- Do you feel scared?
- What can I do to help you feel better about going today?
You may be surprised at the answers your child has. Don't be surprised if the child isn't immediately upset about the funeral. Younger children may not quite understand the tradition even if it's been explained to them.
Finally, remember that the experience may be emotionally overwhelming. Be sure you have an exit plan in case you need to leave the funeral service to take care of the emotional child. If you are not going to be able to leave, be sure to make a backup plan with a friend or family member who is willing to take care of the child until the end of the service.
Fore more information, contact a local company like W J Smith & Son Funeral Home.