To ask would you take young children to a funeral?(185 Posts)
Just wondering what the general view is on taking a baby and a 4 yr old to a funeral. It's my granny's, she is 93 and has been given just a few weeks more in all likelihood.
For some reason my brain is processing this by trying to work out if I should bring my children to her funeral. She's had a lovely long life, so while people will be sad it won't be a sombre tragic occasion, more a celebration of a lovely life by all her descendents.
Of her children one (my uncle) thinks children probably shouldn't attend, whilst the other (my mum) is more inclined to think children should be included so as to demystify and so they don't worry and imagine all sorts of weird goings on.
I'm not sure. I'm tempted to say baby can come but 4 yr old might be whingy and potentially make a scene by being bored. She's pretty well behaved compared to most 4 yr olds... but she is 4! Family we haven't seen for years will be there, and I'd like my daughter to meet them. But using a funeral as an excuse to show off my lovely children doesn't seem right.
Please don't flame me. I'm just wondering how many people think no and how many yes
I'd say yes. But 4 year old sits at the back with someone who can take her out if she is too noisy. I took my lo as a baby to my gmil' s funeral. But she was going enough to pop in a sling and she slept through most of it. X
Personally, I wouldn't take my 4 year old to a funeral
I’d say no. I ended up with DP’s godson at his (the child’s) DGM’s funeral. The boy was two, spirited, and had a very low boredom threshold. It was the middle of winter and a filthy day, so taking him outside when he started playing up wasn’t an option. It was stressful for me, and for what? He won’t remember a single thing of the day.
I don’t know about the demystifying aspect. I was in a car with the children and their other DGM, who told them that their other DGM was in the box in the car in front and that we were going to bury her. It seemed to go in one ear and out of the other, but who knows?
All that said, you know your children and your DGM. If it feels right to take them, it’s your call.
I would take the baby unless thwre is someone really convenient to leave them with. I'd give the 4 yr old the choice.
I wouldn’t. It’s a bit unfair on the other mourners if the kids become difficult.
unless you really cant get child care, don't take them, not even the baby. a funeral can be very traumatic for a little one to experience and they will have no memory of the day/it wont mean anything to them.
FWIW - I am reluctant to let one of my teens go to a close family funeral. Its one of the bits about being a grown up that is particularly shitty so I want to shield my kids from it for as long as I can.
I think it depends on the child really, it’s one thing if they’re disruptive of course they can be taken out - but some kids would also struggle with the sheer ‘adultness’ of event and not know how to react to lots of adults crying - funerals are very sensitive, emotive events and I’m not young children are always ready for that. Even though they don’t fully understand, they feel the vibe.
Yes, but in my family children attend as the norm. All of them whatever the age
We took 2 week old baby to DH's gran's funeral, and had a family friend on standby to take her out if necessary, but made alternative arrangements for 3 year old. Both children went to the wake in the church hall afterwards - having them there lightened the mood a little, and FIL and Hus siblings wanted them to be there.
I’d say no, whilst you may feel that it’s not a somber occasion other mourners may not share that view. Nor may they want to share their quiet moments of reflection and farewell with children. If you have no other choice then at least sit at the back and take them out a slightest squeak.
I'm sorry about your granny
I would say it depends on the service, but if a long, formal affair then maybe it would be worth finding a sitter during the service but bringing your 4yo to the wake afterwards? In my experience these tend to be relatively cheerful affairs (when someone has had a good long life) and I can't see anyone objecting to having children there.
We took ds1 when he was nearly 2, we didn't have anyone to look after him (we were in my hometown, away from friends, and anyone we could have asked was at the funeral). DH sat at the back with him ready to take him out if he so much as squeaked. After the church service I went to the burial and dh took ds1 straight to the wake. It worked out ok, but I agree with those posters who say it's not ideal, and if ds1 had been a little older, old enough to be upset by what was happening, I would have gone on my own and left dh with ds1.
Depends on the age of the child and the relationship with the deceased.
In your case I probably would take them but be prepared for myself or DH to exit the service sharpish if crying/fidgeting etc starts and make sure I was sat somewhere where is was easy to do this - ideally end of pew on the side rather than middle of the Church/Crem.
I've done this with my children at a similar age. They didn't get distressed - actually more fascinated and asking questions (thankfully quietly).
I had to take mine. Too far away and nobody to leave them with. DH had the baby at the back. The 5 year old sat between me and my df. She was as good as gold. My 87 year old gm had dementia so it was sad but not tragic.
Yes I always have. I was prepared to take them out if necessary.
Dp was a bearer for his dad, our ds2 was 2 years older at the time and walked down the aisle holding dp's hand as they carried the coffin.
It wasn't planned, we were behind as family and ds just seen him, shouted daddy and ran to him. That's how the stayed then.
I probably would if they were close to her the 4 year old you’ll have time to talk it through with and maybe read some books etc. The baby I wouldn’t worry about if you th8nk it’s too much for the 4 yo hav someone else watch her and bring her after.
I'm considering this too, sadly, as we have a family member who is 95 and very ill. My kids are 4 and 7. Ideally I will leave the 4 year old with someone else but I will def take the 7 year old as I think it's a good chance for him to process the loss.
When GMIL died, our DC were 7, 4 and 2. I took 7 and 4 out of school for the funeral, while 2 was at nursery.
7 and 4 needed discreetly talking through the service so it was helpful that I could do that while DH was part of the immediate mourning party IYSWIM. They were fine at the "do" afterwards - I went to fetch 2 so he had a plate of sandwiches before we all left together.
By contrast, when my grandfather died DH was overseas and couldn't get back. DC were then 8, 6, 3. I had to remove squirmy 3, leaving 8 and 6 with DB, their uncle. Fortunately for me the service was being piped outside over PA (BIG funeral, small church) so I didn't miss a word of the eulogy. My cousin's husband was outside with their baby as well. Again all the children were fine at the "do", including my other cousins' 1-5yos who joined us there. They were local so had more options.
For preference I wouldn't take young children to the service part as they have the potential to distract or distress you. If your OH or a friend can be on hand to take them out promptly then that's a great option, but if not I'd call on any childcare options or favours available.
I hope your grandmother remains comfortable, and that her eventual passing is peaceful and that the funeral goes off well.
I don't think you would be 'showing off' your children by taking them, and it is all about family so why shouldn't they go. My Granny died recently and my 7 and 8yo came to the funeral and each did a short poem and some words they came up with themselves.
They saw her every couple of weeks so knew her well and loved her very much. They were very upset that she died but they coped very well and I do think it helped them to say goodbye.
Sorry for your loss OP.
We grew up attending wakes & funerals, from a very young age. It's as much a part of life as living, so yes absolutely why not.
I wouldn’t take them to the service because they might get sad and confused seeing you so sad. However, they are a welcome distraction at the wake and I would positively encourage that, as someone else said, they are a distraction in the very best of ways and lighten the mood considerably.
Sorry to hear about your Granny.
I think it depends on circumstances such as age of the child, whether they are likely to be able to be occupied, whether they will get upset, whether you have anyone that us able to look after them, the nature of the service etc.
There is a garden centre opposite the crematorium here, and a golf course next door that is often used for the refreshments.
We have previously opted to have someone take my dd to the garden centre and then bring her over to the golf course to meet family afterwards. Dd is good at being occupied but would want to ask lots of questions and would I think have got upset.
However cousins have previously brought young children (baby to 3) with them because they have had to travel from elsewhere in the country and so childcare wasn't an option. If the little one got upset one of the parents took them out for a while.
You have to do what you think is right for you. Would you Granny want them to be there?
It is asked a lot on MN, and I'm often surprised how many would.
I've been to a lot of funerals that are outside my own family (I am a Church goer and sometimes facilitate funerals of people I don't know, as well as sometimes attending funerals of people I've known through a couple of hobbies, volunteering things, so quite a range of people) and I never see little children at funerals in any of these situations.
So no, I woldn't take them to the service. If it were practical, then I would, however, take them to the 'tea' afterwards, when the mood is lighter and the atmosphere less formal. That will, of course depend on the practicalities of the arrangements.
Absolutely take them. ESPECIALLY the four year old. Death is a part of life, and being a part of a celebration of someone's life is a very important experience. The sooner the better. Feeble attempts to shield children from basic realities, that don't involve violence or improper behaviour, of course, does them no favors.
No I wouldn't. Personally I do not believe funeral services are the place for young children. If family are happy for them to attend the wake then fine.
If they had a relationship with her, then of course they should be there. It's important for your older child to say goodbye along with everyone else. When celebrating the life and death of the oldest members of our family, the youngest generations are always asked to be involved in the ceremony in some way - it is comforting for everyone to see their descendants continuing the circle of life.
If course, the baby is not going to understand, but might bring you comfort. Bring a small colouring book/markers and some small quiet toys for entertaining your 4 year old, if necessary during or after.
If they didn't really know her well, and you will be very upset, then I could see why you might be better off not having to deal with little ones.
I went to a grandparent's funeral as a 3 year old, and it was fine. I remember it a little but mostly have been told about because it was a very sad occasion and my family was grateful for the distraction of having me there. So, a bit different.
Yes of course, it’s important to get them used to all different environments so they are prepared for later life.
It's perfectly normal to take babies and young children to funerals where I'm from (not the UK, but one of the UK's off-shoots).
Death should not be a taboo topic.
Sorry about your grandmother.
I took my 4yo and baby to their GGrandmother’s funeral. It was a long way from home, but my niece and nephew (similar ages) didn’t come, and stayed in the wake venue with my sIL. We sat at the back, 4 yo was fine apart from needing the loo (and we’d sussed it out already) and baby slept through, which was VERY unusual and very welcome.
I’m glad I did it. I’d taken the 4yo when he was 2 to a funeral and spent nearly all the time outside but this time he was quiet, coloured in, and finally asked ‘but mummy, where is the box’. We didn’t go to the crem.
Yes, I absolutely would, and did recently. They were not the only children there, and I see no harm in them being there provided someone takes them outside if they are noisy. She is a relative of theirs too, so why shouldn’t they go? I feel very strongly that death should not be a taboo subject.
Sorry to hear about your gm. My dc are 3.5 and 1.5 and youngest has sadly been to 3 funerals already. My fil died very suddenly earlier this year and dp attended but i just took children to the wake afterwards in case they disrupted things. It def helped lighten the mood afterwards. A very elderly friend/ neighbour also died recently and i took them both to the service, as i had no childcare and i know she wouldn't have minded (and she had no family in this country and other friends didnt mind). Luckily both were very good throughout and I'm really glad i went. As an alternative perspective though, my dc and nephews came to the interrment of my dad's ashes recently and i was upset as nephews (3 & 4)kept asking questions all the way through which was very distracting and i wish they hadnt have come. So i think it depends on the wishes of the main mourners and how you think dc will act, how much you can hold it together so as not to upset them, and a back up plan if it's not working out. That said i do think that in the circumstances of your gm, and if you think she would have wanted them there, it will be fine
I've taken a 3 yo to two funerals which occurred in close succession.
I think it depends on how other members of the family feel, on the feel of the funeral and on the child. If you do decide to take her, it is worth having a back up plan and seeing how she is on the day.
The funerals my dd attended were both of elderly in laws, and the close family had said they didn't mind dd coming. I sat near the back on an aisle seat to make a quick get away if she started making noise. Could your dh do the same?
For the first, she sat perfectly still and quiet throughout. Not a peep.
It had been mentioned that there may be chocolate cake after for those who had sat quietly Although the funeral was sad, it was not traumatically so iyswim - it was the celebration of a long, full life and dd was fascinated by the picture of her ggm on the order of service as a little girl. I think the atmosphere would be different if the funeral was for a younger person, or where the death had come as a shock.
The second funeral I took her to, also an elderly in law, dd started making noise about 2 minutes in. (She was complaining that she wanted to sit near her daddy, who was seated near the front).
She wouldn't be shushed so I swept her out as subtly as I could to minimise the disruption to others, and after a short temper tantrum in the car park we went for a walk around the grounds.
If you have a partner or dh who could do this for you, I would ask them to. It is a shame for them to miss out on the funeral too, but unless they were very close to the deceased I think its a reasonable thing to ask. I think it is entirely appropriate for children to attend wakes, even if they are a bit noisy and boisterous.
Take them both, we had my niece and nephew go, it means you can relax and everyone will love to meet your 2, the 4 year old may well become shy, but it's alwasy nice to see the new family memebers, when saying goodbye to the old.
I would, I think little children are a positive distraction. I think particularly as it is an expected death.
I think it’s ok for her to meet your other relatives at a funeral.
We had a funeral service for my MIL last week and took our boys, they were 16, 14, 10 and 7. In our circumstances we felt it was important they had a chance to say goodbye to their gran, and to remember her life from the memories that were spoken about. They knew I would take them to a different room if they couldn't 'handle it' (DH couldn't as he was officiating) and we'd explained beforehand about what was to happen so it wasn't a surprise.
We knew they would probably be OK with it, so took them. Their 6 year old cousin also went. I had been told by FIL a few days beforehand that he wasn't going, that he'd only be at the wake, but I think BIL and his wife gave him the chance to go because we were taking our boys, he wouldn't have gone if our DC hadn't.
I think it is totally up to you (and their dad) if you take your children. Also, if you don't take them would you be able to leave them with a babysitter or will you not be able to go? If not, that would be another reason to take them. If they go and 'cause a fuss', you would miss the service if you took them out, therefore it's a waste of time going; same goes for someone else at the funeral taking them out. What about finding a babysitter that would sit at the back with them and take them out if needed so a family member or friend wouldn't need to leave with them if the need arose?
Also for us, we live in the south west, the funeral was in the north east (so took 3 days in total) and family are all over - Midlands, London direction, Scotland etc. so it was also an opportunity to catch up with family we haven't seen for years. Some had only met one or two of our boys, some had met none (or me, we've been married 21 years!), so it was also a rare opportunity to get together with family we hadn't had a chance to see for ages. It's not a problem 'showing off' your children, as long as you don't detract from your GMs memory.
We were also in the front rows so couldn't extract ourselves without being noticed!
(They were the only children there apart from a couple of teenagers).
I would take them, though I would perhaps ask the 4 year old whether they wanted to go.
Yes take them. I went to my grandads funeral as a 4 year old. Understood what was happening and yeah I cried but better to educate early about death than to hide it.
I’m Irish where it is perfectly normal and expected that children will come to funerals. I think it’s a good idea to demystify death as early as possible (as someone said upthread). As long as they are removed from the service if they are acting up obviously.
Most of those who work with bereaved children or in end of life care will say yes, the younger the better. It's part of life and it's good for them as they grow up and it's good for everyone else too.
Shielding older children as per a PP can be particularly damaging and makes them likely to inherit your hang ups regarding death. This is a celebration of a long life well lived.
If you want to read more, Winston's Wish is the best place to start, they have an excellent website and bookshop.
It's usual for those organising the funeral to decide and to respect those wishes.
What would granny have thought? I bet she would have felt joy at your children under any circumstances. I think it is natural and healthy to have children at funerals
I'd say yes. But you need a friend on Point to help keep them occupied if you are part of the readings. I think your mum is right. Funerals to my family are a celebration of someone's life. They are for the living and can be joyful as well as sad.
Oh and I bet your granny would want you to show of those babies. It is a final act of love for her.
I took my 18 mo to my DNan’s funeral. She was a delight and she cheered everyone up afterwards.
She also provided me with comfort during. She could see I was upset so gave me plenty of cuddles. I had a staff of cheddars in case she got restless.
No right answer.
I took our baby in arms and 3 year old to my FILs funeral. We sat at the front. OH wanted them to be there.
Baby was attached to my nipple through the whole service.
My kids were very shy and quiet in public though, my 3 yo sat thought the whole service quietly.
My children (4,3 and babe in arms at the time) came to my grandmother's funeral but my husband was ready to take them out if necessary. All of my cousins also had their children - my grandmother was all about family and children and it was a lovely celebration of her life.
I had to take my 4 year old to a funeral about 18 months ago, because there was no one else who could look after her. She sat on the pew next to us and did some colouring. She was perfect.
We took DS to dh’s grandma’s funeral when he was 2. He is one of the eldest of that set of cousins. Through the service some of the others were taken out, and by he end/immediately afterwards all the walkers were kicking a little ball around the crematorium garden. FiL (the deceased’s son) said it really lifted his spirits to see the children playing as he came out.
There is no right or wrong answer to this, every child and every family is different, but I have only had positive experiences of taking very young children to funerals.
We didn't take our 5 year old high spirited twins to the funeral of FIL. It was a sudden death and most of the congregation were shocked and visibly upset. My MIL was distraught and looked to my DH emotional and physical support. It would have been so stressful ssshing the twins, worrying about them trying to run around or mis behaving. My SIL took niece and nephew. Nephew was also 5 and even though everything was explained began shouting 'No stop it, stop' as the coffin was lowered into the grave. An elderly Aunt hissed. 'Shut that child up' and it escalated later and caused a bit of a rift.
Some people will come on her an tell you that children should be there and you shouldn't hide death etc. We didn't hide it from the twins but we didn't feel it would be beneficial for them nor rhe other mourners. Later on we took them to the grave side, lit candles and left flowers (which will still do) we were able to answer their many , manny questions.
There is no right or wrong, you know your child better than we do but we felt the funeral wasn't the place to learn about death at the age.
I hope it goes as well as can be expected.
Sorry to hear about your Gran OP
I'd take them, especially if your 4 year old knew her great gran. I think it helps them understand about life and death and makes it less scary. Where I'm from a funeral is usually a celebration of the persons life, so is usually a positive way to say farewell. Young people's funerals are more upsetting, so I might avoid that, but your gran has got to a good age!
My kids went to a close relatives funeral when young. They cheered up the mourners and I think it made them much more understanding/less scared about death, and it also helped them understand what had happened to that relative.
I would take babes in arms, and DC old enough to be reliably behaved in church because a) if you want to attend yourself, you don't want to miss parts/all of it because they need to be taken out and b) inappropriate shouting out can be distressing. This isn't the time or place to be making a point about putting up with toddler noise.
I would definitely take DC of any age to a wake.
Sorry to hear about your Granny. If it can be done I think that the ideal is to have them at the wake but not the service. My son was 2 when my Dad died and that worked out well. At the crematorium I just wanted to focus on me and my siblings but afterwards it was lovely that my Dad's grandchildren were there. If it cannot be easily done then I would probably take to both.
I was 6 when I went to my first funeral (my Great Grandma's). I only have vague memories of it but they are happy.
Death is part of life and I firmly believe children should 'see' that side of life too. However, it does depend on the child, and you know your child best. ⚘
I took my 4yr old and baby to a funeral, however it was a funeralof my friends 4yr old daughter and my friend had expressly asked for people to bring their children. Not many brought their dcs to the church but more had a partner bring them to the wake.
I did get questions about the coffin and what was in it etc but it opened up questions about death which was fine tbh.
I've attended a lot more funerals since. My dcs are teens now. If they're not very close to the deceased they come to the wake. Last year they attended the whole my Dads funeral. I was very upset but they both wanted to be there. In fact my ds said he couldn't imagine not being there.
In your case OP, I would say that if they could just attend the wake that could be a good compromise?
I wouldn't. We took 5 and 7 year old to Their Grampa's funeral and that was hard enough. I didn't take them to my Nana's funeral (their great grandmother). She was so special to me and I wanted to be able to grieve and mourn and be with my sisters aunts uncles together. Focus on how I was feeling and remembering my Nana. That's not possible with children in tow.
No. We buried my lovely MIL recently and a friend looked after my 6 year old and his cousins nearby. It was just too upsetting and I wanted to be able to help my DH get through it and the thought of those small children seeing us all so upset was not good.
I wouldn't and didn't. We lost my grandmother last year and I have similar aged children and I left them at home. I thought my eldest would be quite upset and confused seeing so many sad faces on those he loves like his grandparents, aunts, uncles etc. and taking the baby would have made me distracted and stressed about keeping quiet, I felt more able to say my goodbyes without them. If I HAD to take them I'm sure I'd have managed but I wouldn't choose to. Would taking them just to the wake be an option?
I think it depends on how you will be.
I didnt take my kids to my dad's funeral as I was a total mess and didnt want them to see me losing control like that. The church was opposite my parent's house so DH stayed at the house with them and then we all went to the wake together. It was a very small funeral though with just 20 people there. We then had a memorial service a few weeks later.
Just see how you feel closer to the time. It is not about what is socially acceptable but what is best for you and your immediate family.
Definitely take the baby - and sit by the door in case you need to leave. Afterwards let otger people cuddle her. Babies remind people of the circle of life at funerals and give hope and comfort IMO.
But not the 4 year old. She may be distressed by the sadness but us to young to get comfort from the funeral IMO. Arrange for her to have a nice day with someone else.
Personally I don't think it's the right place for children.
I don't think there is one right answer. In terms of the 4 year old, i personally would be cautious - not just about behaviour during the service but also about chatty questions about what happens when you die, about what happens to your body etc. Mine were very curious about death at that ave but also totally oblivious to the emotions surrounding it.
Depends on the service. And the child - how close they were to Granny. If child is well behaved take them. If child is there and restless,you must leave quickly. Simples.
I took my then 4 yr old dd to my GM funeral a few years ago, she was happy to sit still and it wasn't a long service thankgod. Several people said afterwards how nice it was to have a child there, to show how life does go on and that there is a positive side on even dark days. My dd loved my GM and it wouldn't have felt right not letting her be there, she now - at 11 - has a good understanding of death and wasn't traumatised at all.
I would probably ask someone to watch DC and meet us wherever the wake was. So the children can still 'be involved' and still be around their loved ones.
I wouldn't take my 1 year old as he is too wiggly and wanting to explore everywhere. He's be pulling the hair of the people in front of my, trying to crawl over my shoulder etc. I wouldn't get to appreciate the service
You could get someone to care for them and then bring them to the wake afterwards.
People do tend to involve kids in funerals now as long as it is age appropriate and the kids are properly prepared. Individual circumstances will dictate the right thing to do too. A friend had a funeral a good few years back of someone in their family who had tragically died leaving small children behond. The kids were involved and attended the funeral service some of which was aimed at and dedicated specifically to them. However they didn’t go to the burial as other adults judged this would be too upsetting. they went instead straight to the wake.
Take your children. Death is part of life and a key emotional event in all families. They should grow up experiencing this.
For some reason, reading this thread reminded me of seamus Heaney's heartbreaking poem, Mid Term Break -
Here it is -
I would only take a young child to a funeral if it was necessary or something I knew the deceased wanted. It depends on the context eg the age and manner of death and relationship to the dead person.
I’d take them. They’re family. Your GM is 93, so you’d expect her to go soon. Death is part of life, so the other mourners can just get on with it.
i took my children to my grandmothers funeral. Its totally appropriate for a close family member, but usually not appropriate for anyone else
I took my 14 month to my mother's funeral, and as chief mourners there was no question of sitting at the back ready to make a quick exit. No question in my mind as to whether he had a place there; I was only worried about whether people would mind that I took a drink in for him. He behaved beautifully, sat in place, didn't utter a sound. Branleuse is right - it does depend on whether it's a family funeral or someone else's.
Overall, it's difficult, My mother had the whole go-to-see-the-body, children go to funerals experience and as a result protected me from it; I feel bad that I wasn't able to see my gran and grandad so have swung back the other way.
Why isn't it possible to grieve and mourn in the presence of children? How will they be able to express grief if they don't see you doing so?
My dear grandad died when I was six and I wasn't allowed to go to the funeral. No adult even spoke to me about him dying, I was told by my older brother who wanted to upset me. I felt in a vacuum with my sorrow, and cut off from an important experience that mattered to me.
@LinkyPlease My grandad died when I was about 5. I was the only one not allowed to go to the funeral (got packed off to a random aunty on the other side of the family).
I still resent it to this day.
Logically I know it was done for kind reasons, but I felt like I was being (inexplicably) punished. And when I got picked up after everyone was sad and I felt even more out of place.
Take the children, let them be part of life and death. I never got my goodbye.
I took DD to DH's Nan's funeral when she was about one. We had specifically been asked to bring her great grandchildren and she had loved them and children generally.
Last year my uncle passed away and I decided not to take DD (3 at the time) even though he also loved children and no one would have minded. My thinking was that if he had been someone who was a real part of her life and she had a real relationship with I might have taken her so she could understand that that person wasn't there anymore. But they had only met a handful of times and in the end she would be upset at seeing my uncle's granddaughters (who she does know) upset and her questions could cause disruption for those closest to him. However his grandchildren were there - so I don't think what you are considering would be at all inappropriate.
So, it depends!
I have taken my DD to all family funerals,I feel it is important for her to know that people are sad and that we have a burial/cremation to say goodbye.
You know your child. You said the four year old would be whingy and could disrupt things for the other mourners so don't take them if you don't need to. If it's someone they really loved, talk to them and offer them the choice.
Sorry to hear about your Granny OP. When my DGranny died (at the same age as yours) I took my 2 year old DCs and my cousin took her newborn and it was fine.
Mine were very curious about death at that age but also totally oblivious to the emotions surrounding it.
Yes, I think this sums up my experience as well. We had a recent loss here and the 4yo has basically shrugged it off after a week, the 6yo was tearful for a similar period, and it still wakes the 9yo up in sobs.
But not the 4 year old. She may be distressed by the sadness but is too young to get comfort from the funeral IMO.
I think this is very astute. She will recognise that you are sad but not really understand why, and that's difficult to manage.
We took DD to DF's funeral at 4, because she'd earned it by nearly farting him to death in the hospice. How he laughed! She was fine and behaved well. She understood her beloved Poppop had left his body behind, and he was still with her. Her 6 year old cousin was asked if she wanted to go: "Yeah, as long as they don't open the box".
Always take mine, from a newborn upwards. I didn't take out of school unless a very close relative but if it wasn't term time, most certainly. For me, funerals are about celebrating the life the person who has passed and celebrating their legacy, the family they have created and left behind.
I'm sorry you're going through this op
Thanks so much for all your replies. A real range, and many more in the take-them group than I'd have thought.
I think taking them both to the wake is a very good idea, I hadn't thought of that - it's been a while since I've been to a funeral and I forgot the format, so that's a really helpful reminder.
I'll see how baby is on the day, feeds, naps etc, and make a call about him then. Might ask 4 yr old too. She very curious and asks lots of questions, about death particularly, i guess it is a very odd concept to grasp so maybe this will help her understand. I'm not very happy with her nursery giving her the message that jesus came back to life last Easter, I think that confused her as it went against the messages we'd given her about death being final. However that's another thread!
4 year old said she did want to visit her ggranny when I went to hospital last week even though I told her that ggranny was very poorly and sleepy, so maybe she'll decide to come given the option. And DP is on hand to whisk her straight out if needed, so maybe we'll have to be careful where we sit. I'd rather be nearer the front supporting my mum, and DD will want to sit near me, so I'll see what I can work out...
Thanks again for all your answers. It seems there is more to be lost by excluding her than lost by including her I think.
I took my 4 DC to my grandmothers funeral (they were 6, 4, 2 and 6mths).
I think it depends on the children and the circumstances but it was definitely the right thing for us. My grandmother would have wanted them there and there were no objections from anyone else to them attending.
I also think it was especially important for the two eldest. My eldest in particular is incredibly sensitive and has an over active imagination - I think if he hadn’t have come with us then his idea of what was involved at a funeral would have been worse than the reality.
DC2 also since asked when we would have another funeral to celebrate her life because he thinks we should do it every year to remember her!
Personally I think 4 is too young. I took my 9 year old son to my sisters funeral and he cried though it, as I did. But it was important as he had watched her dying for a few years and understood about ill health, death and sadness. I think that is too abstract a concept for a 4 year old.
At 4 yrs old my dd's friend died, she was 4 too. Her Mum a close friend of mine.
3 months later unbelievably, my friend's second child died as well aged 2.5 years.
So sometimes we don't have a choice to explain death to a child. I know these circumstances aren't usual but at a very early age we decided not to shield my dcs from anything that is a 'normal' part of life - ie death and grieving.
When my dad died last year I wept openly and still openly in front of them. They give me hugs and bring me cups of tea in my wheat moments.
You can't just make sweeping statements like
"Children have no place at funerals"
Yes definitely, I think death is a part of life and shouldn’t be shielded from them. If they aren’t good at being quiet for longer periods then stay at the back with them
I think it might be fine to take them. But don't assume just because someone is very old that there still won't be some very upset people there. My mum was extremely upset when her mum died in her 90's. It is still a loss.
Sorry to hear this OP.
I would agree with others that it isn't really the done or not-done thing. There's no etiquette so it's whether you feel it would be appropriate or not.
I'd add to that a more general point though (not aimed so much at you OP as you sound sensible) but I loathe that self-centred approach some parents have, where they feel that the child can learn from the funeral. It's not an educational experience and it's not about your child! Grrr. Glad I got that off my chest
I would, for a family funeral.
To help anyone who's children aren't used to sitting through church services, or similar events...
Talk to them beforehand about what is going to happen.
Tell them they need to be quiet and whisper.
Take along snacks. It's a good idea to remove things out of crinkly packets and put them in a pot with a lid which is hard to knock over.
Take a drink in a non spill sippy cup or sports bottle. (They find it hard to speak when their mouths are full of food/drink)
Bring paper/colouring book and pens/paper.
Bring picture books.
Bring quiet toys.
If you think “Oh, I’ll just take out Jayydenn when he makes a noise,” it’s too late. You’ve made a mistake. Please don’t take your small children to a funeral if you can avoid it. It isn’t a teaching opportunity, nor a catching-up opportunity or a showing-off one. The mourners don’t care about your kids because the day is about the deceased - yes?
At my grandmothers funeral there was my dc 4 months and my cousins dc 3 months. Went to a funeral recently and there was a 18 month old there. No problems at either of them. A close family member died last year, my dc were 3&5 at the time, they didn't come. I didn't see the point to be honest. It was much easier without them. I went to my first funeral at 12. It was my grandfather's and I think by then I was ready for it.
I think that is the question claws
Is the day about the deceased, or about the mourners?
Can children be mourners?
What is the best way for a child to say goodbye to a beloved relative?
Like a pp I also help facilitate funerals at our church and it's really interesting to see that in my church, usually the funerals of non-churchgoers are child-free, and the funerals of churchgoers have some children. Usually just relatives of the deceased, but sometimes others as well.
This is not a thing with a set etiquette, it has to be up to the principle mourners to decide.
Mixed opinions here - basically though all children - and families - are different so one size doesn't fit all.
When DM died the DC were 1 and 3. MiL looked after DS1 and then bought him along to the wake afterwards - nice for her to pay her condolences and for family to see DS. My Dh looked after DS2 in church but could take him out if required. Luckily he wasn't a problem.
We had the internment of her ashes a week or so later and that was just immediate family so both DC came to that but weren't really aware of what was going on. It was quite funny though as DS1 knew it was a bit weird and sad so reached up to take what he assumed was his dad's hand, only DH wasn't there as he couldn't take time off work so it was a funeral man's hand he took! A bit of a shock for both of them and lightened the mood a little!
But, from the other side, as a child myself I was given the choice if I wanted to attend my younger sisters funeral. I probably should have (I was 9 by then) but was scared and said 'no'.
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