Is it appropriate for children to attend a funeral?
There are no hard and fast rules that dictate whether children should or should not attend a funeral. Very young children may not understand what is happening and little ones may become confused and upset when they see people crying. Only you, the parent, will be able to judge just how much your child can take in and understand without being confused and afraid.
Children suffer grief just as adults do. Don’t try to keep them from knowing what is happening. They need to understand what is happening so they, too, can work through their grief and find closure. Saying goodbye is important. The best thing to do is to talk with your child, ask how they are feeling, and answer their questions about what a funeral is and what will happen there.
If your child was close to the deceased, it is fine for the child to attend if s/he feels comfortable doing so. Don’t be afraid to ask your child questions and to encourage your child to talk openly. Remember to use simple and easy to understand terms when talking to your child about death and funerals.
Children need to know that the funeral is a time of sadness because someone has died, a time to honor the person who died, a time to say a final goodbye, a time to help comfort and support each other, and a time to affirm that life goes on. And saying goodbye helps us all acknowledge that the person we loved is gone and cannot come back.