Sometimes, parents and grandparents can be reluctant to involve children in a funeral, or feel unsure of how young people can participate. The fear may be that a funeral is too "heavy" for children, and that involving them in the active work of bereavement may be too much for them. On the contrary, many children not only want to be involved, but actually need an outlet for their own mourning and sadness. Involving children in the service can be therapeutic for them; it can also ensure that the funeral is something that truly represents and encompasses the entire family, not just part of it.
The question is, what can children do to participate in the funeral service? There are no right or wrong answers here; it largely boils down to the age of the children and what they feel comfortable with. Giving kids a window for creative expression is always healthy. For example, encouraging children to color a picture or write a quick note, and then giving it to a funeral home attendee to place into the casket, can help kids to feel included.
Children might also be invited to participate in the actual service - either by doing a reading or even by sharing a story or simply reading aloud their own note to the deceased friend or relative. Meanwhile, at the gravesite, some funerals provide children an opportunity to release balloons, which can feel cathartic and celebratory in equal measure.
Don't ever make the assumption that your kids are too young to be able to participate in the funeral, or that they are not interested. Talk with them about it, and also to the funeral home team about ways your kids can be involved. Speak with a funeral director today by giving us a call.