Death is something that everyone has to face, and no matter the age, when you lose someone you love, a funeral can be a hard event to visit. Knowing this fact as a parent can bring about a lot of questions about how you should handle it when a family member passes away and you are concerned about your child. Should you take the child to the funeral home? Will they understand or will it be too traumatizing? Getting the answers to these questions can be tough because every child of every age will have different levels of understanding death. However, there are a few pointers to keep in mind.
Toddlers may be better staying with a sitter.
Children at this age are restless, active, and really lack the understanding about the whole situation at a funeral home. Plus, they may be upset by seeing everyone in the room upset or in tears, especially if you are upset. It can be better to drop in for a short visit with your toddler during visitation if you prefer they be present, but find a sitter for your child during the actual funeral. Of course, this is all up to you and how comfortable you believe your youngster will be in the funeral home setting.
Older children should be given the option of going or not.
By the time your child is old enough to be in school, they should have at least a fair familiarity with what happens when someone passes away; however, the permanence of the idea can definitely be an upsetting thing. Forcing a child to go to the funeral home with you for the service can be more upsetting than beneficial for some children. So, give your child the option of not going if they do not feel comfortable about doing so and you can avoid an uncomfortable experience for your child.
Funeral directors are understanding of child reactions during funerals.
If you take your child to a funeral and they are extremely alarmed about the situation, don't ever feel ashamed or embarrassed about the event. Funeral home directors and the staff members understand that children can lack the adult understanding of how a funeral can be. Some funeral homes actually have a room set aside for children and parents with children who need to get away from the main area for some quiet time in a more child-friendly environment.