Should young children attend funeral services?

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When there is a death in the family, you may wonder if it is appropriate to bring a young child to the funeral service. While there is no definitive right or wrong choice in this situation, you should weigh the decision carefully. Children should recognize that death is a part of life, but they may not need to attend a funeral service in order to reach this conclusion and grieve properly. Here are some factors to consider when deciding whether a child should attend a loved one’s funeral.

Deciding to attend the service

Children who are so young that they will not remember the service may be best left with a babysitter. However, once a child is old enough to have a conversation about death and mourning, it may be appropriate to let the child decide if he or she wants to go to the funeral. You should use simple and accurate language when explaining what has happened to a loved one, avoiding possibly confusing phrases like “He’s moved on.” Explain that the funeral is an event where friends and family can gather to remember their loved one and celebrate his or her life. Even if your child does seem ready to attend, you should still create an back-up plan in case they become overwhelmed at the service.

Helping children cope and grieve

Aside from attending the funeral, there are many ways to grieve. Some child-appropriate activities may be scattering ashes or attaching final messages to a balloon or kite. Just remember that a child’s experiences with death early in life can shape the way he or she grieves as an adult, so it is important to remain flexible and continually offer your support.

The caring staff at Friedrich-Jones Funeral Home can provide you with grief support resources within the community to help your family during this difficult time. For more information regarding funeral, cremation and mortuary services that Friedrich-Jones provides to the Naperville and Plainfield, Illinois areas, please call 630-355-0213.

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