My Wonderful Life

Children and Funerals

Many children have a hard time understanding the concept of funerals, death and burial.

What to do:

  • It is not a good idea to tell children every detail about death, but when they ask questions it is appropriate to answer them. If they are wondering something, they will ask. It has been found that the children who hear every last detail can be scarred from the experience.
  • Children may feel that for some reason the death was their fault. It is appropriate to listen to the child express this feeling, but then to tell them that the death was in no way their fault.
  • If it seems that a child does not understand that the deceased is not coming back it may be because they actually wish the person was coming back, not because they don’t understand. Let them talk about how they’re feeling and explain that you wish they were coming back too.
  • It is important to explain the funeral and burial to a child before going to the event. It is better for them to know what is coming than to keep them in the dark. If after explaining what the funeral and burial will entail, the child does not want to attend, it is not appropriate to force them to go.
  • Some children may actually find comfort being involved in the funeral, so let them be as involved as you see appropriate.  
To find books that can help children understand this situation, click here.
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