Activities for Kids at a Funeral
Although bringing kids to a funeral is something not everyone agrees on, there are times and places when children either must be or choose to be present. No one knows your child as well as you do, and the decision to bring them along rests entirely with you and the immediate family of the deceased.
If you do bring kids along, it’s a good idea to have activities and an exit strategy planned. Crying children, fussy children, or children who are disruptive to others in attendance can end up causing additional stress, which is something few people want during this already difficult time.
Here are a few funeral-friendly ideas to keep your children quiet at a funeral.
Digital Devices/Smartphones: A child sitting and playing with an iPad or watching a video (with headphones) on a smartphone is not the most ideal option in a funeral setting, but you can make this as unobtrusive as possible. Sit near the back, have the device set up and ready to go ahead of time, and choose a game or movie that won’t cause outbursts of laughter.
Music: For some families, having a child watch a movie is less about keeping them entertained and more about having them listen to something other than the eulogy and/or funeral speeches. Music (with headphones) can also work if your child is overly sensitive to hearing about death.
Books: If your child is old enough to be a reader, a book is one of the most portable and acceptable distractions out there. Coloring books work equally well for young children.
Sticker Books/Felt Toys: Younger children tend to do better if they have an activity that engages them. Skip anything plastic, battery-operated, or wooden (as these can make quite a bit of noise) and look for sticker books or felt boards.
Favorite Babysitter: One way in which to keep kids quiet and entertained is to bring along a favorite person of theirs. You can hire a babysitter to accompany you to the funeral. This way, if your little one grows fussy, the babysitter can head out to the lobby while you finish saying your goodbyes.
Nursery Room: Many funerals and memorial services are held in churches, which have special nursery rooms overlooking the facilities for families. This soundproofed room allows you to see and hear the service while also keeping kids somewhere they can be entertained.
Another option is to bring your child only to a small part of the service. You do not have to be there for the viewing or even the service itself—you may want to skip the formal ceremony and head straight to the funeral luncheon. This way, you can still gather with friends and relatives to mourn, and your children will find more to do when there is food and more social activity going on.