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Should My Child Attend the Funeral or Memorial Service?

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A woman and two children standing behind an open hearse.
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  • Question: Should My Child Attend the Funeral or Memorial Service? If so, is there anything I should do to prepare him?

    Answer:

    The child who knew the deceased is generally given the option to attend the funeral. Make sure your child understands what is happening and reinforce the rules of good manners.

    Children of any age who are related to the deceased may attend the funeral or memorial service. However, if the child is prone to squirming or misbehaving, you may want to find a sitter. You don't want to disrupt the service. It generally isn't a good idea to take small children who are not related to the deceased to the funeral.

    In order to prepare your child for a funeral or memorial service, start at a point he understands. Let him know that people will be very sad for the loss, and he may witness some crying that is normal in a situation like this. Let him know that it's okay to shed tears, but he shouldn't wail or make loud sounds. He should be on his best behavior at all times.

    If the deceased is a close relative such as a grandparent, aunt, or uncle, you may want to find out if the funeral will be open or closed casket. Use an explanation that is recommended by your church, synagogue, or other place of worship.

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