As sad as it is, attending funerals is something that your child will have to go through sometime in his life. Before taking your child to a funeral it’s important to brief him on what the situation really is about and how he should behave in such a scenario. After all, funerals are also social situations where proper behaviors are expected. If your child knows the proper behavior to exhibit, he will feel better equipped to handle the experience.
- Talk to your child before going to the funeral home. The concept of life and death may be too deep for him to understand at this point so try to communicate the idea of sadness and loss. He would have lost his favorite toy or a pet at this point so that’s probably the closest thing that he can understand. Communicate to him the idea that all the people in that event are going to be sad and depressed so it would be important to respect their feelings.
- Dress him appropriately for the event. Clothes with loud colors like red and yellow as well as prints that denote celebration or happiness are generally not the types of clothes you’d want to wear to a funeral. Whatever your child does wear, however, make sure that it is comfortable so that he wouldn’t fuss and act up about his clothes.
- Remind your child not to do things that would be disrespectful to the mourning family. Let your child know that running around and playing in the funeral home would be highly inappropriate. Talking too loudly or laughing would also be considered offensive and insensitive. Not only will it be disrespectful, it could also reflect unfavorably to you if you can’t control your little one.
- Be a good role model. Remember that young children copy how their parents act, especially if they’re in a new situation. Use this to your advantage by modeling to him proper behavior while at the funeral.
- Tell your child to say a little prayer and look solemn. Ask him to look at the other people who are approaching the casket. If your child is afraid of seeing the deceased, you don’t have to take him close. Looking solemn could be as simple as staring into a fixed point or even bowing his head with eyes closed.
- Ask him to throw a flower into the casket for the burial. Ask this from your child especially if he was close to the person who died. This would allow your child to feel that he is indeed saying goodbye through a simple gesture.
- Tell him to maintain that type of behavior for the post-funeral gathering. Most families would have a small get-together in the end to eat a meal and be together as a family before they part ways. This signifies the need to move on despite the loss of a loved one that they will miss dearly.
It’s always tough to go to funerals especially if you are close to the person who died. Make sure that your child understands the proper decorum that is expected of those who are in attendance.