A guide to taking kids to funerals blog
When a loved one has passed away, it's natural for their nearest and dearest to attend their funeral to celebrate their life, and pay their respects. But what if some of their nearest and dearest are children?
The prospect of taking children to funerals can often be daunting - which is why we've put together this detailed guide on how to prepare a child for a funeral, from kids' funeral outfits to what age they should attend.
How to prepare a child for a funeral
Should kids go to funerals?
Firstly, it's important to assess whether children should attend a funeral in the first place. Often, grieving families may choose not to take babies and toddlers to funerals - this is because they can become restless and noisy, particularly if the funeral service is lengthy. It's more common for older children to be seen attending funerals; however, this is left to the discretion of the parents and the families organising the funeral.
What age should a child go to a funeral?
There is no set age that a child should be allowed to attend a funeral. However, if they are too young to understand what is happening; they may cry or be noisy causing disruption to the service; or they are too upset about the loss, this might indicate they should not attend.
Age is not necessarily the deciding factor when considering whether a child should go to funeral or not. There are many components to consider before age, such as:
- Closeness - how close were they to the deceased? Did their death affect them emotionally - and would the funeral service be too much for them, or do they feel like they need closure and a chance to say goodbye?
- Maturity - are they mature enough to witness multiple grieving people without this affecting them too much emotionally? Having to see the coffin in a burial service may also distress them if they are unsure of the funeral process itself.
- Preference - of course, they might have a preference. They could feel strongly one way or another - so make sure they're involved in the discussion of their attendance.
- Grieving - with funerals often comes multiple people expressing feelings of sorrow and grief. If they are going to be attending, it's important they expect to see people crying and have the emotional maturity to understand what is going on at the funeral.
- Religious connotations - many funerals include religious connotations, regardless of whether guests are religious or not. It's best to prepare your child for either scenario e.g., if they are religious and they will attend a humanist funeral service, or if they are not religious and they will attend a ceremony that centres around a specific religion. Explain what the deceased would have wanted from this service - and what that means for their body and spirit after the service finishes.
- Funeral etiquette - this includes what to say, where to sit, what to take and more. Read our guide on funeral etiquette to best prepare for this.
- Process - it might be helpful to walk your child through the entire process of the funeral - from the funeral cars arriving to the coffin being lifted in the ground (if a burial), as this will prepare them fully for the day.
- Black blazer
- Smart shirt
- Dark trousers
- Black shoes
- Black dress
- Black skirt
- Black/dark coloured top
- Black plimsoles/ballet shoes
- Posted 14th December 2021
How to explain a funeral to a child
Explaining a funeral to a child can be challenging, but it's important they understand as best as they can what to expect from the funeral before they make their decision about attending. Some of the main parts of the funeral process itself which should be explained include:
Appropriate kids' funeral outfits
Another consideration for taking children to funerals is ensuring they are wearing the appropriate attire for the occasion. In most cases, funerals require smart wear, typically featuring black as the common colour to be worn.
However, this is typically dependent on the funeral itself - often, before people pass away (especially if they have a prepaid funeral plan and have considered their own funeral ahead of time), they may have requested brighter colours. This is often to mark a sense of celebration of life instead of a traditional funeral. However, in order to avoid any mishaps, if in doubt, stick to black.
For kids' funeral outfits in particular, a few ideas include:
In general, the overarching theme of kids' funeral attire is to dress smart.
For any additional grief support, please contact Cruse for expert support and advice.