Appearing on 7 Ways To Accommodate Little Kids at a Funeral

Having my kids at my mom’s funeral was the right thing for our family. Here’s what helped.


This originally appeared on Modern Loss. Republished here with permission.

Having my 2-year old daughter, Lucy, and 7-week-old son, Arlo, at my mom’s funeral was more meaningful than I could’ve predicted. It took some preparation, some dedicated helpers and faith that it was worth the risk, but it was one of the best parts of a terrible day.

While there’s no perfect answer for every family, having my kids at my mom’s funeral was the right answer for us. If you’re reading this because you’re inclined to give it a try… I hope these tips will help. 

  1. Find your words.

  2. Set expectations.

  3. Build your team.

  4. Prepare age-appropriate activities.

  5. Set boundaries.

  6. Have an exit plan.

  7. Debrief.

I want to be clear that I don’t think there is a right answer for all families, and I understand that emotionally charged environments can be overwhelming and, ultimately, traumatic to some kids. I don’t think kids *should* participate in funerals, only that they *can* benefit from doing so, under the right circumstances.

Whatever works for your family, I wish you the best in healing and the empowerment to find what’s right for you.”


End note: It is an incredible honor to contribute to a resource that has been immeasurably important to me in the wake of my mom’s death. Their commitment to featuring diverse stories and various viewpoints while maintaining rigorous standards (and avoiding the “pit of despair” narratives that weigh down so many grief stories) is unwavering. Thanks, Rebecca and Gabi, for giving me an opportunity to share this story (and this picture).