Should Children Attend Funerals?

Many adults wonder if it is appropriate to bring children to a funeral or memorial service.

At a time that is difficult no matter what your age, children should be a part of the mourning process depending on maturity and ability to understand concepts about death and loss. Here are some guidelines to help you decide if you child should attend a funeral or other memorial service.

Does your child want to attend?
Your child should be allowed to attend a wake, service, or burial if they desire. If the death is of someone close to your child, you might want to involve the child in funeral planning. It can help in processing grief and to say goodbye in their own way to that special someone who passed. It is not a good idea to force children to attend a funeral. If your child is hesitant, do your best to find out what their fears are and what you can do to ease them.

Should Children Attend FuneralsIs your child prepared?
Make sure they understand what will be happening at the funeral or burial. Describe step by step what they will see (open casket or cremains in an urn, etc.) and how other people might be reacting. Explain that crying or not crying are both acceptable. You might want to make arrangements for childcare if a child must leave or wants to leave early. Do not force a child to touch or even look at a body in an open casket if they are not ready.

Is your child old enough or mature enough?
Infants are considered too young to be at a wake or memorial service and might be a distraction during silent portions of the ceremony. On the other hand, holding an infant can be an immense comfort to those grieving for the loss of someone. An infant shows the family legacy continues. As a rule, unless an infant’s presence is requested at a funeral, it is best to leave baby at home.

Toddlers are active little humans, and you cannot expect one to sit through a funeral service. It is unfair to you because you may miss important parts of the service. It is unfair to other attendees that must witness disruptive behavior. An amazing gift to the family of the decedent is to offer babysitting services during the ceremony. You can provide them yourself or pay a provider to handle childcare services.Preschool aged kids can usually be kept busy coloring or reading during a funeral, but may be a bit young to understand what is happening. By elementary school, most children understand the permanence of death and can behave appropriately at a solemn event.

What is the relationship of the child to the deceased?
Bring a child to the funeral if he or she is a son, daughter, or immediate family member of the deceased. If your child was close to a grandparent or other relative, it is also appropriate to allow the child to attend. Don’t bring a child to a funeral simply because you could not find child care. Funerals can impact a child’s well being if they are not ready for the process.

Whether a child attends a wake, funeral, memorial service, or celebration of life is up to the individual child and the parent. Pay attention to the cues your child gives and answer any question posed with honesty. Your child’s exposure to death and the grieving process are very personal, and only you can decide when it is appropriate.

When you have questions about children attending a service or about planning end of life ceremonies, the caring and professional staff at Bi-State Cremation and Funeral Service are ready to assist. We are here to address your concerns, suggest ideas and honor your loved one the way you envision. Call us anytime for your affordable St Louis cremation and funeral needs at 314-831-8868. We take pride in the respect, dignity, and affordability of our St Louis funeral home services in our community.



Bi-State Cremation & Funeral Service
3387 N Hwy 67, Florissant, MO 63033
Mo,Tu,We,Th,Fr,Sa,Su all day
Scroll to Top