Simply attending the funeral will help your child begin processing his or her grief. But whenever possible, consider including youth of all ages in the planning of the funeral/memorial service to help them feel connected and involved. Participation is their decision and he or she can change their mind about how much they want to be involved. Consider asking your funeral director or clergy for suggestions on youth involvement or incorporate some of the following activities:
Prior to the Funeral:
Draw a picture or write a letter to place in the casket or beside the urn.
Select special photographs or items, and help arrange a picture board, video tribute or memorial table; share special stories and memories during the activity.
Older children may want to help with arrangements, such as selecting a casket or an urn, or the readings and music for the service.
During the Visitation:
Greet the guests, hand out memorial folders or direct people to the registration book.
Participate in the final closing of the casket.
During the Ceremony:
Start the ceremony by placing a flower on the casket or in front of a memorial portrait or urn.
Share a poem, reading or reflection; sing a song or play an instrument.
Serve as a pallbearer or casket escort.
Participate in religious customs.
After the Ceremony:
Distribute flowers to family and friends gathered at the cemetery.
Place a memento at the graveside, such as a plant or stuffed animal.
Share special memories over your loved one's favorite meal or at their favorite restaurant.