3 Ways to Involve Children in Memorial Planning and Funeral Services

The day after our grandmother passed away, I remember the whole family gathered, sitting in her cozy little living room, wide eyed, not fully grasping the extent of what had just happened the day before.  Our little ones though, they didn’t quite understand what was going on and our current state of paralysis.  They were just being kids; antsy, needing something to do.

By the next day, we finally started to move around and began planning the memorial service.  Our dad and aunts took care of all the arrangements, while the rest of us started sifting through photos and scrolling online for ideas to create a beautiful memorial service for our grandmother.

While we worked on memorial collage boards and photo displays for her funeral, the kids were right there, wanting to be a part of it too, but we were so wrapped up in dealing with our own grief and making things just right, that it was easier to distract them with their games and toys than it was to truly be with them at that moment. But they were grieving too and they deserved to be a part of the memorial planning process.  So we came up with a few ideas to get them involved and let them be part of the funeral planning and memorial service.

Here are 3 things we did to let the kids be part of the memorial service planning process & funeral:

1. Let them create something for the memorial service

This could be anything from a collage of their own to a drawing or even a sculpture.

(Photo Credit: Los Angeles Aerial Image)

For us, we picked up a bunch of dollar frames, paint and decorative items like stickers, baubles and faux flowers from our local craft store and let them paint and decorate the frames by themselves.

(Photo Credit: Los Angeles Aerial Image)

Each frame came out so pretty and unique and once dry, we added a special picture of each of them with our grandma, their great-grandmother.

(Photo Credit: Los Angeles Aerial Image)

They displayed so beautifully at the funeral reception, and after the service, became one of the best keepsakes that we all got to take home and still have on our shelves and mantles to this day.

2. Let them look through photographs with you

Upon the passing of a loved one, I have found that sifting through old pictures and talking about the relatives and people in them is one of the most cathartic activities we do.

(Photo Credit: Everplans.com)

I have found it so interesting to learn about our ancestors, and reflect on earlier memories.  Allowing the kids to be a part of this activity allows them to learn as well, and feel the ties that make them part of the family tree.

3. Give them a task to do on the day of the funeral service

Talk to children openly about what to expect on the day of the funeral and memorial service.

(Photo Credit: NextChurch.net)

Allow them to make their own choices as to how much they want to be involved that day, but some ideas include:

  • Reading a poem
  • Sharing a story
  • Singing a song
  • Passing out memorial programs
  • Passing out prayer cards or mementos, or
  • Being the guestbook attendant

It is important to understand that children are going through their own grieving process as well.  Allowing them to get involved gives them a sense of purpose and allows them to feel through their emotions, much like we do as adults while planning a funeral.

We hope you found this information helpful.  If so, or if you have an idea you have done or seen done to involve kids with the memorial planning process, please share with us in the comments below!  We would absolutely love your feedback and wish you nothing but the absolute best!