Children & Funerals
Many people wonder if a child should be allowed to attend a funeral, or if they are welcome at the wake. The answer here is usually yes, but there are a few considerations. Each child is unique, some children may become upset witnessing grown-ups in mourning, but most benefit from being included. Please use your best judgement. The primary consideration is not to force the child to attend the funeral. We have a comfortable lounge in an adjacent room where children can stay if they are uncomfortable in the chapel. Also, it can be helpful to have an adult available to take the child home so that they do not have to stay for the entire service or visitation. Young children can become restless if bored or hungry.
The secondary consideration is the child's understanding of death. Often, children under the age of 6 do not have a thorough understanding of death. It is important to explain to the child beforehand what he or she will see at the service.
Explain to them in terms they understand that death is a part of life. Most young children understand death as it applies to plants and animals, but they do not understand why people die, especially if it is someone they are close to. Like most adults, children want to know why someone has died, where they go to when they have died and why the doctors or hospitals couldn't prevent them from dying. If these are questions you are comfortable explaining, it can be very beneficial for a child to be allowed to share in the morning process of a loved one. Please also visit the page Explaining Death to a Child.
Many resources are available to find the information. Check with your local library. They will be glad to provide you with the names of books and pamphlets dealing with death. The Internet also contains numerous websites on this subject.