funeral homes in Owego, NY

Explaining Funerals to Children

Before funerals of loved ones at funeral homes in Owego, NY, children who are old enough to understand – children under five years of age are probably too young – should know what’s happened, know what’s going to happen, and be included in the entire process that accompanies the death of someone we love.  

While children don’t have the emotional maturity or the complexity of emotions that adults may have with regard to someone they love who has died, children can still grieve the loss more deeply than you might expect, especially if they were extremely close to the person who has died.  

The first thing that you need to do is let your children know that death is part of life and grief associated with death is normal. They also need to know that all grief doesn’t look the same and people, even within the same immediate family, may grieve very differently from each other. By explaining the spectrum of grief, you can help your children know that how they grieve and express that grief is okay and it’s not abnormal.  

You also need to explain the funeral process to your children. Let them know what to expect at the visitation. It can be quite a shock for children to see someone they love lying in a casket, completely motionless, eyes closed, hands folded over each other, and almost looking like the person did when they were alive. It can also be shocking for children to touch the body and discover that it is very cold.  

Explain visitation protocol to your children. Let them know that they’ll be up front in the funeral home beside you and the rest of the family and people will come up to all of you and express their condolences. Make sure that you prepare your children for the kinds of grief they made see, including tears, sobbing, and other emotions they may not have experienced before.  

You should also prepare your children for the funeral service. Many times, older children within the immediate family are asked to do readings as part of the funeral service. Go through the order of the funeral service with your children so they know what to expect and they also know how much longer the service will be. That may sound trifling, but sometimes funeral services are hard on children, and the knowledge that they are almost over can be a relief to them.  

Then you want to explain the graveside service to your children. Tell them what its purpose is and how it’s different from the funeral service. Let them know that the casket will be sitting above the cemetery plot where the deceased will be buried, because they’ll see the dirt that has been dug out around it.  

The first few days between the death of a loved one and their burial are often so busy that they’re a blur and the reality of them being gone doesn’t fully sink in. However, once all of that is over, the real grieving begins. Discuss it openly with your children and let them discuss how they’re feeling with you. Watch for signs of withdrawal and depression and consider grief counseling if these become protracted.  

At funeral homes in Owego, NY, our compassionate and knowledgeable staff at Roberts Funeral Home can help you with more resources to explain funerals to your children. You can come to our funeral home at 279 Main St., Wellsburg, NY 14894, or you can contact us today at (607) 734-7811.