Children have a tendency to feel “forgotten” and slightly neglected in the wake of a loved one’s death. Suddenly the attention has shifted from them to the departed. As a parent, it’s not something you should feel guilty about, it’s just something that tends to happen as a natural reaction to your loss. One way to bring the focus back to the children and your loved one is to include your children in the funeral if that’s something they feel comfortable with. It helps the children feel a sense of connection with the rest of the family and gives them a chance to show their respect for the departed. Here are 4 ways to include your children in the funeral service.

1. Readings

If your children feel comfortable reading in front of the congregation, you could assign reading parts to your children. Gospel readings tend to have difficult words throughout, so perhaps better reading options could be the petitions or a short poem or literary piece during the service.

2. Hand Out Programs

If you have programs for the funeral or a memorial piece to give to the attendees, you could put a couple children in charge of handing them out prior to the service. This job is perfect for younger children. The young children will likely put a much needed smile on the faces of the funeral attendees, and the task will give your children something to do while you are busy visiting with family and friends prior to the funeral.

3. Contribute to the Memorial Table

If you’re featuring a memorial table at the visitation or funeral, ask children to bring their own items to contribute to the table. If the children are feeling anxious or unsure about the funeral this gives them a sense of purpose. Making the contribution will make them feel important and give them a sense of connection with the rest of the family.

4. Altar Servers

If the funeral is taking place during a religious service, there could be a need for altar servers. If any children have experience serving, more than likely they would be happy to serve during the funeral.

Another benefit of giving your children a role to fill during the funeral is that it keeps them busy on a day that might otherwise be challenging for them to get through. However, it’s important that the children feel comfortable taking on a role. Be understanding and sensitive to their feelings when assigning roles to children during the funeral of your loved one.