Explaining funerals, burial and cremation to children

It is easy for an adults to assume that a child will know what a funeral is and why we have them. In reality, few do, unless they have previously experienced the death of someone they know. Any information that they already have has probably come from the media or overheard, usually misunderstood, conversations.

When someone dies, most people gain some comfort from an opportunity to say goodbye at the Funeral.  It is no different for children. As long as they have been prepared and given the choice to be there, or not, they find it a helpful experience.

You may have concerns about a Funeral being too “adult” a ritual. It may reassure you to know that none of the children and young people that we support at Child Bereavement UK, regretted choosing to attend.

A very young child, toddler, or even a baby can be there with the rest of the family. Although they will not understand at the time, it is when older that children appreciate knowing that along with everyone else they were a part of this important event.

If your children choose not to attend, or being there is not possible for them, remember that there are other alternatives.  You could decide together to have a private family farewell or do something special to remember the person who has died.

Read more:

The Tenth Good Thing about Barney

The Tenth Good Thing about Barney

Author: Judith Viorst

Judith Viorst has written and lovely and touching look at death from the perspective of a child. Though dealing with the death of a pet, it helps children deal with the reality of any death including why we have funerals. This book does not have religious overtones, so it can be used by families with all different sets of beliefs.

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When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death

When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death

Author: Laura Krasny Brown & Marc Brown

An excellent resource for children when they try to grasp the concept of death and understanding grieving; recommended for children who have faced, or are facing loss, but also for any child even before an urgent need presents itself. Includes chapters on “Why does someone die?” covering lots of eventualities.

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We Need to Talk About the Funeral: 101 Practical Ways to Commemorate and Celebrate Life

We Need to Talk About the Funeral: 101 Practical Ways to Commemorate and Celebrate Life

Author: Simon Smith and Jane Morell

This enlightening, beautiful and practical book informs about the wide choices available when arranging a funeral. It shows you how to make a funeral ceremony that both commemorates and celebrates a life, and provides comfort, inspiration and good memories.

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Memorials by Artists for Young People, Children and Babies

Memorials by Artists for Young People, Children and Babies

Author: Harriett Frazer

A guide to help families who are facing the extremely hard task of finding a memorial to celebrate the life of a young person, from birth to 30 years.

Buy from Amazon