Taking children to funerals

It is often difficult to decide whether children should attend, but there are a number of guides and people to help you make the decision.

Parents and family can find it difficult to decide whether children should attend funerals or not. If you like you can ask your funeral director for their advice.

Often families choose not to take babies and children under the age of about 3, as they are concerned that they might be noisy. Children old enough to know what is happening should generally be given the choice to attend and their decision respected.

There is no right or wrong decision on whether children should or should not attend a funeral. Here are some points to consider that may help you decide.

Children need simple and honest information when someone has died so that they can understand what has happened as much as possible. When they are grown up they may not remember specific details of the funeral but they will remember that it was a meaningful, non-threatening experience and that they were involved and included in it.

It may be helpful to have an adult who is known to the children and trusted by them but who is perhaps not quite as affected by the death who will be able to take them out of the service and distract them if they become bored or restless or just want to leave.

You may find this guide for grown-ups when children ask questions about death (PDF) useful. It was written by a funeral director and helps adults deal with the questions raised by children about death and funerals.

The Useful Contacts section also lists organisations that have many helpful resources for adults caring for bereaved children and the children themselves.

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