By the time you are an adult, you may have gone to enough funeral services that it feels familiar to you. When you have children, the grieving process of a friend or family member becomes much more complicated though. Visiting a funeral home with a child, especially if it is their first time, can be a very intimidating thing. You do not know how your child will react, which is why it is important to take time to discuss the funeral with them before they go. Consider these three things.
How Old The Child Is
Always consider your child's maturity level, personality, and age when you decide if they should attend a funeral. While there is not a specific age where children should attend funerals, you want to make sure that the child is not scared by what is happening. On the flip side, they should also be mature enough so that they do not act inappropriately. A funeral can be lengthy and stressful, and a child needs to be prepared for what their expectations should be.
Always remember that you can hire a babysitter to watch your child and that you shouldn't feel forced to take them with you if they are not ready.
Explaining What Death Is
The religion that your family follows will play a big role in how you explain to your child what death is. It is always best to talk about it in an open and honest way that does not scare them. Once again, you will know best about how much you should share due to your child's maturity level and age, but it helps to ask your child what they know about death to help guide the conversation.
Try to avoid using sentiments to prevent them from feeling sad. For example, sometimes parents will tell their child that the person is sleeping. This could give them the wrong impression of what death is, and cause them to act inappropriately at a funeral. If the deceased's body was cremated, you will have to explain what the process is so that they understand what the urn is.
Always have this conversation prior to going to the funeral home.
Setting Realistic Expectations
Your child should know what they can expect when going to the funeral when it comes to their behavior. Let them know that people will be acting sad, somber, and quiet. Some people may be crying as well. Let them know that they need to act respectfully at the funeral at all times and how they can support other family members. Strangers may even come up to them and offer to shake hands or embrace, so let them know this can happen and what they should say.
If you consider these things prior to the funeral, it should make taking a child to a funeral go as smoothly as possible. For more advice, contact a business such as Romero Family Funeral Home Corp.