Funeral Attendance

“I think it’s not so much what you say, it’s just your presence [at the funeral] and being there and letting them know that you’re there for them….I think it also makes it easier for a child then to come back into the building and maybe share with the teacher what they’re feeling.” (Counselor)

This module provides practical advice on funeral attendance by grieving children, their friends and classmates, and school personnel. It reviews implications for relevant school policies. Because parents often notify schools immediately after the death of a family member, school personnel may be the only professionals who have the opportunity to offer guidance to parents about funeral attendance for children. There are benefits for children who attend funerals and memorials, as well as steps families can take to support them through the experience.

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View the video by chapters:

The importance of funeral attendance by school personnel

The benefits of peer support and supportive school policies around funerals

Advising families on their child’s involvement in funerals

For more information on supporting grieving children, refer to The Grieving Student: A Guide for Schools by David Schonfeld and Marcia Quackenbush.