Factors to Consider
Age is probably the most important factor to consider in this situation. For example, if your child is a baby, it is wise to evaluate whether they really need to attend the funeral. Babies can be unpredictable at funerals, and it may create more of a distraction and irritation to other mourners if the baby begins to cry – and, as they are of such a young age, they will receive no emotional benefit or memories of attending the funeral.
Relationship to the deceased:
If your child is close to the deceased (for example, a grandparent or a valued family member), it is wise to consider your child attends their funeral. This provides them the opportunity to say goodbye and receive peace from their passing. However, if the deceased is a distant relative, or someone the child does not have a direct close relationship with, taking them to the funeral may cause unnecessary emotional stress.
Confidence and social awareness:
It could be that your child is of an age where they can understand what is happening, and have a close relationship with the deceased, but funerals take people out of their comfort zones. If your child is still establishing themselves and doesn’t deal well with social situations, a funeral may not be the right place to bring them.
Involvement in the service:
If the child feels up to it, it may be a nice idea to include them within the service. This could be as simple as writing a letter or a drawing to put in the casket/grave; helping to choose the funeral flowers, or even reading a poem aloud at the memorial service. Giving children responsibility at funerals can often make them feel included and respected.
If they are of an appropriate age and have a close relationship with the deceased, it’s often best to give them the choice. Explain to the child that the funeral is likely to be upsetting or distressing, and people around them may be upset too. If the child has the capability of sitting still for a period of time and reacting in an appropriate way, it’s advised they are given the choice.
However, if you’re still unsure about taking children to funerals, a compromise may be that they are not allowed to attend the service, but they can attend the wake.
It can also be argued that from a psychological standpoint, funerals may be important for a child’s development and awareness of the world. By allowing children to attend a funeral, they are given the opportunity to mourn the deceased in a way that’s met with support and closure. If they are not granted the opportunity to attend, they may feel disappointment and remember it with negative connotations in years to come.
What should children wear to a funeral?
If you’ve decided to bring your child to a funeral, it’s important to consider their attire. Funeral attire for children can be a subject of question. And often, deciding what to wear yourself can be just as distressing and confusing as dressing your child.
Dependent on the age of the child – and if they are capable of dressing themselves or not – funeral attire for children can be flexible. If the service requires everyone to wear black, as a mark of respect, children should then be dressed in black.
However, it’s not always considered a necessity to have children wearing black to a funeral nowadays – so what is the best funeral attire for children?
Funeral attire for boys
Firstly, it’s important to note that any funeral attire for children should be in line with the venue where the funeral is being held - for example, church appropriate attire if the service is at a church. For boys, if they already own a suit that they’ve worn before for formal occasions, such as weddings, this would also be appropriate to wear to a funeral too.
If not, smart trousers would work just as well – but remember, they don’t necessarily need to be black. It’s important to keep in mind that shorts are very rarely appropriate for funerals – and clothes that have bold patterns and colours or large logos should be avoided, as well as any form of t-shirts. A simple plain button-up shirt and formal shoes would suffice. Again, remember the style and condition of the shoes matter a lot more than the colour.
Funeral attire for girls
Dresses are often the go-to attire for girls attending funerals. A dress often shows class and sophistication, while adhering to appropriate attire regulations - regardless of the funeral venue. Again, it’s wise to avoid bright colours or eccentric patterns – stick to a plain colour and a classy unexposed style of dress that will team up with a pair of black or nude tights.
Alternatively, a simple skirt would also suffice which would work well with a button-up blouse.
Dependent on the weather, a cardigan can complete the look perfectly, and can cover up any bare shoulders on show. Footwear for girls should be a closed-toe shoe which is in good condition, in a neutral colour. Sandals, trainers or flip-flops should be avoided.