‘Funeral tips for kids’ written by a bereaved sibling

August 7, 2023

Every year, ‘Dying to Know Day’ encourages conversation and community actions around death, dying and bereavement.

Talking about death and dying can be tough. But keeping communication channels open can often help things seem less scary.

We are honoured to share some thoughtful funeral tips that were written by very special sibling Aria after she attended her brother Valentino’s funeral.

She specifically wanted to share these tips to help other kids know what to expect when attending the funeral of their brother or sister.

Aria is now nine years old and is a proud member of Very Special Kids’ first Child Advisory Group – a youth led initiative that provides siblings aged between eight and 13 years old a chance to share their thoughts and ideas with Very Special Kids.

Funeral tips for kids, written by Aria
I am seven years old and when I was six, I went to my brother’s funeral. I had never been to a funeral before. I thought I knew what to expect but there were lots of things I did not know about funerals. I want to help other kids prepare for a funeral.

Here are some things I would like to tell you about going to a funeral for your brother or sister:

  • You might cry or you might not cry, but expect to see other people crying
  • You might see a lot of photos of your person, and these might make you cry
  • You might have to listen to lots of different people talking
  • You might see a coffin. You might see the coffin be carried or rolled on a special trolley. You might see the coffin being put into the back of a special car for coffins
  • After a funeral, you might meet together with family and friends and have something to eat, and you can play with your family and friends
  • You might feel many things at the funeral – sad, upset, angry, curious, interested, unsure, happy and many, many more

Ten drawn faces depicting different feelings and emotions

Things I would like to tell their grownups:

  • Please tell kids before they go to a funeral all the things they might see and hear and do and expect
  • Please tell kids about how their person died
  • Please know that sometimes siblings think it is their fault their person has died
  • Please think about the kids at funerals and make the funeral of their person ‘kid friendly’
  • Please ask kids if they want to help with funeral preparations – we have lots of ideas and like to be involved
  • Please show kids the slide show of photos of their brother or sister before the funeral so they know what to expect

As a children’s palliative care organisation, Very Special Kids works to make the world a better, more supportive and knowledgeable place for families who are suffering through the death of a child or young person.

To learn more about our bereavement support services please click here.