Tips For Helping Kids Through Their First Funeral Service

When a loved one passes away, one of the things that you'll need to deal with is determining how to incorporate children in the memorial service and funeral. Sometimes it's difficult to know the right way to handle these events for young kids, because your first reaction may be to want to shelter them and protect them from the emotions of it all. The truth is, it is as important for kids to have the chance to say goodbye as it is for adults. Here are a few tips for helping kids understand and face the funeral services (such as those provided by O'Halloran & Murphy Funeral & Cremation Services) as they say goodbye. 

Help The Child Understand The Process

For kids who have never attended a funeral service before, the whole concept can be overwhelming. As they are emotionally trying to process the loss that they've experienced, some kids may find themselves apprehensive about this new and unknown event.

Take some time to explain the entire memorial and funeral service process for the child. He or she is likely to feel more at ease after understanding what will happen. Be as honest and detailed as you can, answering any questions that come up along the way.

Explain what the room will look like and who the child will sit with. If there will be a casket and a viewing, help the child understand what the body will look like and what to expect of the casket and the entire process. It can also be helpful to explain how everyone processes grief in their own way and that there are likely to not only be some people crying, but also others who aren't showing any emotions and those who may be laughing and sharing stories of the deceased. The child should understand that all of these things are normal. This helps him or her to understand that the range of emotions are all acceptable.

Provide Encouragement Without Forcing Participation

It's important to encourage kids to participate in the funeral services so that they have their opportunity to say goodbye. Make sure that the kids understand that they are welcome to be there and participate in this important emotional ritual. Some kids may choose to make a speech or share a poem at the service while others may prefer to quietly light a candle or place a special memento in the casket.

If a child isn't comfortable attending or doesn't want to participate in the service, don't force them. It's important that everyone be allowed to grieve in their own way, because forcing a child to participate if they are emotionally uncomfortable with the process can make it more difficult for them to process the loss and move forward.

Be There For Support

Young kids need the support of adults who are also grieving and can help them understand the emotions. Be there for the kids as they take their time to say goodbye. This companionship and the presence of someone that they can rely on who is also sharing the same emotions makes it easier. Allow the child to say goodbye in his or her own way and be accessible to answer any questions that may come up along the way.