Preparing Children for Funerals
Children are usually the picture of innocence because they haven’t yet experienced many of the difficulties adults have, specifically the loss of a family member or friend to death. To ensure they are prepared, it’s important to sit down and talk with the younger ones before a funeral proceeding.
There are several reasons why we should prepare children for a funeral, including helping them process what death means so they are not traumatized later, preventing them from acting out at the funeral, and to help them understand the life and death process.
7 Ways to Help Prepare Children For a Funeral
There are a few things you can do for your children before going to a funeral to help prepare them for what they’ll see and feel. Obviously, depending on the ages of the children, different methods should be used.
Let Them Know What To Expect At the Funeral
Often times, people want to shield children from unpleasant experiences, but in many cases, this can hurt their growth and their ability to cope with those experiences as adults.
A delicate and honest discussion with children about what will happen at the funeral, how everyone there will be acting, and why people mourn, will be appreciated by the young ones now and in years to come.
Be Specific About What They’ll Experience
If you are going to an open-casket funeral, explain to the children what this means, why the body is there, and how everyone should act. Let them know that this is a time for somber contemplation and conversation and that they shouldn’t play or run around.
People will be crying and possibly sobbing, and if they know this ahead of time, they won’t be shocked by others’ reactions. If the body is cremated and the ashes are in an urn, be specific when explaining to them that there was no pain involved.
Keep Them Involved With Grieving Rituals
Include the children in the discussion about memories of your lost loved one, and let them understand that sadness and tears are absolutely acceptable. Grief is part of life, and mourning our lost loved ones should help us all gain an appreciation for those that are still with us.
This is a Chance to Say Goodbye
We want children to understand why we have funerals and wakes, giving us all a chance to gain some closure by saying goodbye as a group. The children also deserve a chance to have some closure, so allow them the opportunity to say goodbye if they would like.
Take Time To Discuss Your Beliefs About Life and Death
Your child will be processing a lot at this point, but you should help calm their concerns with a discussion about your family’s belief about what happens after our lives are over. This isn’t anything we want to scare them with, but to help them understand the peaceful transition.
Let Them Help With Funeral Preparations
If the person that died was part of your close family, and you have to go to the funeral home and purchase a casket, etc., let the child join you for some of it. This will help them understand that death and funerals happen in every family. During these tasks, it is a good time to have some discussions with them that will prepare them for the funeral. Plus, by seeing the funeral home ahead of time, it will help quell their fears of what they should expect.
Bring the Child Back For a Cemetery Visit at a Later Time
Even after the funeral, either several weeks or months, go back to the cemetery to visit the gravesite (if there is one) with the children. Let them understand how this can be a peaceful exercise where we continue to keep that person in our minds and often bring back memories and feelings about them.
Are you planning a funeral in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, West Palm Beach or the surrounding areas? Call Boca Raton Funeral Home at (561) 852-4332, and let them help you with your preparations. They may also have some additional advice as to how to help prepare children for a funeral.