Teaching children about the traditions of death typically happens slowly. Most kids don't have to face a devastating loss early in life, so they can learn about the tough topic of death as they discover it. However, sometimes a child faces the death of a beloved friend or family member and may even want to be part of a funeral of a loved one. If you are trying to decide how to best include children in the funeral for your loved one, consider the following tips.
Tip #1: Ask for Input from the Children
Let kids lead the way when it comes to how involved they want to be in the funeral. Some children may know immediately that they want to speak at the funeral, and you can let them give a sort of eulogy in their own way.
Others may simply want to be present and be able to say a silent prayer as part of the funeral. If the children don't know anything about funerals, teach them about what will typically go on in a memorial service, and you may make suggestions that you feel would be comforting to the kids.
Tip #2: Give Kids Choices for the Funeral
Be sure to give children options for participating in the funeral. They may not realize that they can read a poem aloud, recite a Bible verse that has meaning, or even sing a song that was significant to their relationship to the deceased person.
Children may even choose to present a slideshow, help make choices about the funeral program, or share special memories. Some may want to talk to other mourners on a one-on-one basis. Give kids options for participating in small and big ways during the funeral.
Tip #3: Praise the Bravery of Participating Children
All children want to feel that they are doing a good job, especially with something that is likely to be as important to them as a funeral. Pay close attention to what the children do as part of the funeral, then lavish detailed praise on them for how they conducted themselves.
Finally, keep in mind that it's important to consider the individual child as well as what is age-appropriate in the situation. Some kids can handle things at an earlier age, while others may be devastated because of a particularly close relationship with the deceased and not want to speak at the funeral at all. Trust your instincts. When in doubt, go with the choice that will be easiest on the child.
For more ideas, talk to a professional like Foran Funeral Home.