What should I tell the children?

Understandably this is a difficult subject and we are often asked whether children should attend a funeral. Naturally this will depend upon the age of the child, their relationship with the person who has died, and whether they have expressed a wish to do so. Each child is different and will react as an individual. From our experience you may find the following information helpful.

It is important that a child is told as quickly as possible when there is a death in the family. The news should be given by the person closest to them in a simple and straightforward manner. Do not be afraid to use the words ‘died’ or ‘dead’ and be careful with the pictures you may create in the child’s mind – they need to agree with what the child actually knows or has seen. Encourage the child to talk about the deceased and to ask questions; answer these briefly but truthfully – you may be surprised how supportive and accepting the child can be.

To help you, we recommend a book called ‘Badger’s Parting Gifts’ (ISBN 0-00-664317-5) alternatively ‘Waterbugs & Dragonflies’ (ISBN 0-8264-7181-1) available from all good bookstores.

In addition we have a supply of ‘Remember Me Always’ (ISBN 978-0-9550757-3-5) an excellent handbook to help bereaved families care for grieving children – please feel free to ask for a copy.