Do you think it is ok to take a toddler to a funeral?

(47 Posts)
jumpyjan Tue 20-Jan-09 20:33:35

DD is 2. All the family are quite keen for her to attend so no problem there - just wondering if it is not a good idea for her to be seeing family upset etc - it is likely to be a very emotional affair.

Anyone any experience of this?

OP’s posts: |
nickytamoshantertwotimes Tue 20-Jan-09 20:37:21

I don't think it would do your child any harm whatsoever - god knows ds just carries on as normal if I cry (!)- but I would find it hard to concentrate on the service with ds there. Depends on the situation, doesn't it? And it is part of life I suppose. <ponders>

hambo Tue 20-Jan-09 20:38:54

My wee boy gets very upset if I or one of his close family get upset. I attended a funral over christmas time and took him to the gathering afterwards to cheer everyone up, but not to the actual funeral....

frankbestfriend Tue 20-Jan-09 20:38:56

I wouldn't take her.

I think until a child is old enough to understand why everyone is so upset it could be frightening and confusing for her.

Only mvho though, I do know children of a similar age who have been to a funeral.
I just think it's an awkward age, she is old enough to be effected by the upset and tears, and not yet old enough to understand why, iyswim.

Katisha Tue 20-Jan-09 20:39:52

I'm sure she'll be fine and she is a symbol that life goes on.

LightShinesInTheDarkness Tue 20-Jan-09 20:41:21

I am sorry for your loss.

We recently decided not to take DCs (7 & 10) to a funeral of someone they knew well. They would have been distressed and bewildered at seeing so many of our friends in such a state.

Death is a part of life - but not at 2. Your DD could pick up on things which she has no hope of understanding, but might well upset her.

Also, from the point of view of other mourners, they may feel inhibited by the presence of a small child. You also need to express your grief freely, without worrying about your child's reactions.

We have all become detached from the processes of dying and grieving, which is not how it has always been, but it is now.

jabberwocky Tue 20-Jan-09 20:43:27

My grandmother passed away Friday night. Her funeral was yesterday. Dh and I took our dcs (5 and 2), one nephew had his 9 month old and another nephew had his 16 month old there. All the children did well.

twoluvlykids Tue 20-Jan-09 20:43:34

I personally wouldn't.

When you're 2, life is about fun, not seeing people upset, I think.

kidcreoleandthecoconuts Tue 20-Jan-09 20:43:54

I dont think it's really appropriate at that age.

Deemented Tue 20-Jan-09 20:44:21

Take her.

I took my son then aged 3 to his daddy's funeral, and a few months later to his nana's, and i explained to him that we were sad because they had died, and that it was ok to be sad - death is a part of life, and i think it's good that a child can be allowed to understand that - that it's not something to be afraid of. I think it's good too that she be allowed to see that people do get upset - if you explain why to her.

I found that if i were as honest with my little boy as was possible then it made it esaier for him to unserstand. I told him that daddy was so ill that his body couldn't get better and he died and we were sad because it meant we couldn't see him again. I explained about the funeral itself, and said that afterwards we were going to have a party for daddy, and that all the people that loved him were going to be there, and he seemed to understand that. Although he did insist that there had to be a cake with candles as it wouldn't be a party without it...

Sorry for rambling... blush

EldonAve Tue 20-Jan-09 20:44:55

I took mine to a recent family funeral
They are both under 4
I would have left them at home but all my childcare options were attending the funeral
I think if the principle mourners are fine with it, it's okay but the final choice is yours

frasersmummy Tue 20-Jan-09 20:47:42

when my gran died we had no-one to leave our almost 2 year old with.

We explained that Great Gran had gone to heaven and we were going to a special service to say goodbye to her

He sat in his buggy during the service with his favourite bear

Afterwards he went to the funeral tea and created a few smiles

I didnt worry about the family being upset around him. We said .. oh mum is upset cos Gran isnt here anymore but dont worry you still make her smile

I hope the day passes peaacefully whatever you decide

ohdearwhatamess Tue 20-Jan-09 20:51:11

My 2yo gets really upset if he sees anyone else being upset or crying.

Doubt there'd be any long term damage, but I wouldn't do it.

rachels103 Tue 20-Jan-09 20:52:20

I was adamant that I was going to take ds to my dad's funeral until the last minute when I decided that it would be too difficult to concentrate on him when I was so upset myself. The rest of the family breathed a collective sigh of relief as they didn't think I'd cope but didn't want to say anything.
I don't regret my decision - he came to the 'do' afterwards and came when we scattered dad's ashes. One both occasions he was a breath of fresh air and helped everyone focus on something positive. We've been very open with him about what has happened to grandad so it wasn't about protecting him, more about giving ourselves space to grieve without worrying about him. He has seen us all upset at different times and knows that it's because we're sad about grandad, but I think it would have been overwhelming for him to see everyone so upset at the funeral - he would have been trying to give everyone hugs to make them better.
However, at the end of the day you have to do what feels right for you and your family.
Sorry for your loss

rachels103 Tue 20-Jan-09 20:52:56

ds was also 2 btw

xxhunnyxx Tue 20-Jan-09 20:56:49

I'm a bit of a believer that children should grow up in a world where everything is made of pink candyfloss and everything is happy and wonderful.
Whether this is right or not is a matter of opinion but I just think that we have enough sadness in our lives when we're older that children should just enjoy their childhoods whilst they can and live in a world without upset or worries.
That said, I don't think it would do any harm to your LO to go to a funeral, after all death is a part of life. But I just don't think that funerals are nice things to experience and I don't think I'd be comfortable taking a 2 year old to that environment.

lauraloola Tue 20-Jan-09 21:09:30

We have my grans funeral next week. Dd is only 7mo so will probably come with us.

My cousins ds's are 4 and 6 and are going to stay with a friend for the funeral and then come to wake. We thought that would be best because they are still part of the day but wont be at the very emotional part xxx

frasersmummy Tue 20-Jan-09 21:09:45


I can see what you are saying about protecting kids and its a really lovely sentiment .. it is which I wish I could apply

But when you are forced by a terrible life changing event to explain this part of the circle of life to a toddler they do cope remarkably well

Deemented Tue 20-Jan-09 21:12:02

As frasersmummy says - as long as you take the time to explain to them honestly, then i think it can be a good thing.

jumpyjan Tue 20-Jan-09 21:16:41

Wow - thank you for all the responses.

Although it has probably made me more undecided than ever as they are so mixed!

Deemented - feel so sad for you having lost 2 people so close to you so close together. So sweet what your LO said about the candles.

Am going to sleep on it. I think if I do take her I will sit at the back of the church and play it by ear - sneak out if it feels like it might be a good idea. Then of course she could go to the wake which would probably be a bit of light relief for everyone as so nice to have children around at those times.

OP’s posts: |
JackBauer Tue 20-Jan-09 21:24:28

Last year I took both DD's (under 3) to my granny and my DH's grandma's funerals and the wakes.
Both times everyone said it was so lovely to see the grandchildrena and how they (both GM's ) would have loved that they were there. At my granny's there were 6 under 4's present.
At DH's grandmas he and his brother and cousins insisted on carrying the coffin in adn out of church and into crem so DD wanted to know what he was doing.

We explained to DD that they were both going to heaven now and we were all a bit sad as we woldn't see them anymore.
No issues, no problems.

xxhunnyxx Tue 20-Jan-09 21:35:27

Yeah my cousin did the same with her 2 LO's, they came to the wake but not to the acutal funeral. I do agree it was lovely to have the children running around at the wake, made it a much happier environment.

There's no right or wrong answer so don't worry about it too much.

Personally I do think that the old ''grandma has gone to heaven'' speach is quite adequate for a 2 year old. It would maybe be nice to say your own little goodbyes with them and maybe grow a plant to remember them by, something which they can take part in.

I didn't go to a funeral until I was about 20 and it certainly didn't do me any harm to miss out on them.
I didn't even know that my Grandad had died until the day after his funeral because he died whilst I was on holiday and my mum didn't want to ruin my holiday by telling me and me coming home early. I think she made the right decision.

whomovedmychocolate Tue 20-Jan-09 21:42:00

I took DD (2) to one before christmas - she was fantastic - we took colouring books and she sat and drew (some quite funny pictures of the coffin) and gave our bereaved friend a massive hug and said 'you're sad' and kissed him on the nose - which I think - made him feel better. But we did spend a looooongg time preparing her for it and coaching her on what would happen and she was bribed to the nth degree as well (and seated near the exits!)

hellymelly Tue 20-Jan-09 21:44:24

I took my daughter (then nearly two) to her great grandmother's funeral and I am really glad I did.We explained as simply as we could that we were going to church for everyone to say goodbye to Grandma and she was very happy about it,she sang along with the music and was very sweet,and when she got very antsy I took her outside and then my mother looked after her outside while I went back in.She already knew everyone was upset so that wasn't a shock and I honestly think it helped her that she came.She was talking very well by then though which I guess helped with her understanding.She came to another funeral a few months ago at 3 and 3/4 and she was really keen to come (it was a friend's)and behaved very well and I think it helped that she remembered Grandma's funeral and so she wasn't worried about the process.

hellymelly Tue 20-Jan-09 21:51:47

actually I should add that I disagree with a previous poster who said that funerals are not nice things to experience-of course they are sad occasions and can be tragic but I think they are often very beautiful and touching and human and full of love.We will all experience deaths and funerals should be as much part of family life as weddings.
(but then I am Welsh,and we are a nation of funeral attenders!)

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