Including Children in Memorial Events

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When the death of a loved one occurs, adults are faced with difficult choices about whether to include children in death rituals such as funerals and memorial services. As a general guideline, children should be allowed to attend a wake, funeral, and burial if they want to.

Children can also be involved in the funeral planning. Joining family members for these rituals gives the child a chance to receive support from others, and it offers them a chance to express their grief in their own way.

Children should never be forced to attend a funeral or memorial service. It is important, however, to understand the children’s reasons for not wanting to attend, so any fears or questions can be addressed.

Questions might include:

  • “What is the thing you are most afraid of about the funeral?”
  • “What do you think you might feel if you were to go to the memorial service?”