Many children will choose to go to the funeral if they understand that it is a special time to say goodbye . Children who have been prevented from attending the funeral have often told us how upset this has made them feel.
Children need information to enable them to make their own choice about whether they should go to the funeral or not. For instance:
- Why is there a funeral?
- Where is it going to be?
- Who is going to be there?
- What happens in the service?
- Where will the dead person be?
- What happens to the coffin?
- That some people will cry, others won’t. Both are ok- people react in different ways.
- What happens after the service?
Children value being included in the preparation for the funeral –perhaps helping to decide the order of service, choose hymns and readings, maybe writing/reading a prayer or poem (with and adult on standby to help).
If a child chooses not to go to the funeral, make sure careful alternative arrangements of their choosing-not necessarily school.
Perhaps arrange a simple ceremony afterwards, like the letting off of a balloon with a message, maybe at the grave or in a special place- an opportunity for the child to think and talk about the person who died.
Look after yourself. It is hard for a grieving adult to be responsible for their child during the funeral. It can be helpful to find a named person, less closely involved, to help support each child during the service.