As a parent, you have a natural instinct to protect your child from
harm. Some wish to spare their children the pain and sorrow of a
funeral. However, excluding your child from a ceremony or ritual could
do more harm than good, denying them the opportunity to grieve and be
with others who are mourning. In this article, we will explain how to
best help your child to understand the service and rituals following the
loss of a loved one.
1. Answer questions before the ceremony. This will
give your child the opportunity to ask any questions they might have
about their loved one and what happens next. When answering your child’s
questions, be sure to keep it simple and avoid using euphemisms.
Explain your loved one can no longer think, breath, feel pain, cold, or
hot and that their body has simply stopped working. Using terms such as,
“passed away” or “deep sleep” could further confuse your child.
2. Inform your child what to expect. Whether your
loved one will be cremated, have an open casket ceremony or a closed
one, it is important to let your child know what they will see and
experience during these services. Go over the ceremony or ritual
schedule in detail including what they will see, who will be doing what
Explain to your child cremation happens when your
loved one is placed into a special box and transported to a crematory. A
crematory is place that gets so hot (hotter than the hottest desert),
it turns a person’s body into something like gray sand. From there, the
sand is placed into a very special container called an urn. Avoid using
words like flames, burning, and fire.
If your loved one is having an open casket ceremony,
contact your Family Legacy Funeral Director to schedule a private
viewing before the service. This will give ample time for your child to
ask questions and know what to expect when viewing the deceased. If your
child wishes to touch your loved one, demonstrate how by gently
brushing along the hand or hair.
For closed casket ceremonies, questions of being
afraid of the dark may be asked, simply remind your child they can no
longer become scared, cold, or feel pain. Our funeral directors are
present for further explanation if needed on why the casket remains
3. Create a sense of choice and control. It’s okay
if children choose not to attend a service but encourage them to do so.
Schedule a tour with a Family Legacy Funeral Director of the facility
where the service will take place. A sense of familiarity with the area
can go a long way if your child becomes anxious or nervous. Have a
designated relative or caretaker who can take your child for a walk or
away from the ceremony if they get overwhelmed. Present the option of
going to a friend’s house, or even the opportunity to invite their
peers. This shared experience will help friends adjust to your child’s
new norm, making it less awkward and easier to talk about in the future.
Let our family, help yours. Contact Family Legacy today for more information and assistance.