Explaining the Funeral Process to Children

Monday, September 26, 2022

Has a loved one recently died, and now you're trying to figure out how to walk a child through death and the funeral process? We understand how difficult that can be.

We're here to help! Keep reading below to find out some of our tips for helping a child cope with death and attending a funeral.

Help Them Understand Death

While some children will be too young to understand what's happening around them, those that can ask questions are going to. It's best to just be upfront with kids of this age.

Be clear and simple when explaining death to children for the first time. Don't use confusing language like "sleeping" or "passed away" because most children won't understand euphemisms.

That doesn't mean you should be graphic or use words that will scare them, especially if this death involves cremation. An example would be, "This is going to be sad to hear, but grandpa has died. Do you know what that means?"

Allow them to ask questions and help them understand further what that means for their life. Let them know they won't be seeing him anymore but that you will continue celebrating his life.

Invite Them Into the Funeral Process

Babies and toddlers won't truly understand death or funerals until they're older and may not remember the event at all. However, children that have developed more long-term memory should be invited into the funeral planning if they'd like.

Explain that all of the deceased's family and friends will gather to remember the wonderful things about your loved one and ask if there's something they would like to contribute. There could be a song they would like played during the visitation or a drawing they make to display.

Giving children ownership of something in the funeral helps them to feel involved and excited to remember the person they've lost. It helps them to know that even though it's sad that they won't see them anymore, there is joy in remembering them and that it's safe to still talk about them.

Teach children about the funeral procedure and what to expect people will say to them at the funeral. Let them know what to expect ahead of time so they're not taken off guard and scared. Instead, let them know every step included. Don't keep them away from the funeral because it's an important step in grieving.

Lastly, Help Them Process Their Emotions

Finally, after all is said and done with the funeral process, it's important that you talk to children about your emotions surrounding the death so that they understand their own. Ask them questions about how they're feeling to help them identify their emotions.

Not every child will respond the same, and it's ok if they don't cry or feel sadness. They might not fully be able to understand and grieve yet, but don't let them try to figure it out on their own.

If you are in the process of trying to plan a funeral and need help, we'd love to assist you. Check out our services to see if we'd be a good fit.

Since 1905, families in the Greater Pottstown area have turned to the independent, family-owned Schumacher and Benner Funeral Home & Crematory to meet their funeral needs with professionalism and sensitivity. 

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