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To ask would you take young children to a funeral?

(185 Posts)
LinkyPlease Mon 15-Jan-18 23:21:10

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


Unreasonableunreasonableness Mon 15-Jan-18 23:23:46

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

purpleme12 Mon 15-Jan-18 23:27:30

Personally, I wouldn't take my 4 year old to a funeral

PavlovianLunge Mon 15-Jan-18 23:28:04

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.

MyOtherProfile Mon 15-Jan-18 23:29:37

I would take the baby unless thwre is someone really convenient to leave them with. I'd give the 4 yr old the choice.

chocatoo Mon 15-Jan-18 23:30:48

I wouldn’t. It’s a bit unfair on the other mourners if the kids become difficult.

mummymeister Mon 15-Jan-18 23:31:02

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.

Sparklesocks Mon 15-Jan-18 23:31:58

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.

HerRoyalNotness Mon 15-Jan-18 23:32:20

Yes, but in my family children attend as the norm. All of them whatever the age

PandaG Mon 15-Jan-18 23:32:30

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.

Fruitboxjury Mon 15-Jan-18 23:32:54

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.

MegBusset Mon 15-Jan-18 23:33:03

I'm sorry about your granny flowers

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.

Greensleeves Mon 15-Jan-18 23:34:04

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.

HannaSolo Mon 15-Jan-18 23:34:14

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).

GrockleBocs Mon 15-Jan-18 23:35:05

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.

RainbowPastel Mon 15-Jan-18 23:35:58

Yes I always have. I was prepared to take them out if necessary.

Snowysky20009 Mon 15-Jan-18 23:36:39

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.

TheHeartOfTeFiti Mon 15-Jan-18 23:37:39

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.

Wincher Mon 15-Jan-18 23:37:46

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.

MrsHathaway Mon 15-Jan-18 23:37:51

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.

TheHeartOfTeFiti Mon 15-Jan-18 23:38:41

Snowysky 😢😢 I have something in my eye

snowpo Mon 15-Jan-18 23:41:11

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.

Mumto2two Mon 15-Jan-18 23:44:43

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.

Piffpaffpoff Mon 15-Jan-18 23:45:12

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.

Talkingfrog Mon 15-Jan-18 23:47:41

Sorry to hear about your Granny. flowers

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?

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