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What’s a Funeral?

When a parent dies, children will likely have questions about all the unfamiliar words being used by adults. From “funeral” to “cremation,” “mausoleum” to “grieving,” there will be a lot that’s unfamiliar. It helps to explain things clearly – this keeps children from coming up with their own understandings of these words, which can be far scarier than what they actually mean. The Children and Youth Grief Network’s “Handbook for Volunteers” (included in your training package), is a helpful resource that includes a more comprehensive list of kid-friendly explanations around grief and bereavement.

What is Burial?

Having mom placed in a box and buried underground can be a frightening concept. Explain to children that a dead body can’t breathe or feel cold or pain. Tell them a cemetery is a place where dead bodies are buried, marked by gravestones to help find the right spot. You can go to the cemetery to visit the gravestone as a way of remembering the person who died. Sometimes bodies aren’t buried, but placed in a mausoleum, which is a special building at the cemetery.

What is Cremation?

Avoid using words that may cause alarm, like “fire” and “burning.” You can tell them body will be put in a very warm room until it turns into ashes and explain that it’s a peaceful process and that it that doesn’t hurt them in any way because dead bodies don’t feel pain.

The NAN Handbook for Volunteers has additional information for your review.

Michelle LaRoweUse Child-friendly Language con’t