Funerals

Rachel - posted on 03/09/2011 ( 95 moms have responded )

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Ok well A friend of my family is in the hospital and is not doing well they are not expecting him to make it. is 4 to young to take them to a funeral?

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Jodi - posted on 03/09/2011

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Unless it is close family, I don't think you should take him. We had a friend of the family die last year, and I took my son (he was friends with her son) who was 12 at the time, but I didn't take my daughter, who was 5. I just didn't think it was necessary. I picked her up from school after the funeral and took her to the wake, which was more a celebration of her life, and my daughter was able to take that in, but I don't think the funeral was necessary. She was sad, and we talked about it, and she was able to be at the wake, but just not the funeral.

[deleted account]

Rachel,
There were several responses I agreed with...I attended my first funeral of a great uncle, who was electrocuted, at age 3. I remember a few things from it. I grew up (not in a funeral family) to become a funeral director myself. Part of what has made me so effective with others' in grief is my own healthy view of death. I see many adults who have never been exposed to death and how difficult it is on them. Children handle things better than we might think. Also, we, as parents, have the responsibility to train them to one day function on their own. My opinion is to take him. Why shield our children from what is perfectly natural and going to happen to all of us? Why keep death a mystery instead of using it as a teaching tool to prepare him for animal deaths as well as many more human deaths that will occur in his lifetime?
Whatever you decide to do, I wish you well!

Stifler's - posted on 03/09/2011

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I agree with taking him. The funeral is a huge part of understanding and accepting that someone has died.

Jodi - posted on 03/09/2011

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If you are concerned about him understanding it, there are books available to help you with that. My step-son lost a baby brother several years ago (he was about 4 or 5 at the time), and we borrowed some books from the local SIDS & Kids library to help us help him (1) understand and (2) with his grief. Because kids DO grieve differently than we do.



For the life of me I can't remember the names of the books, but they were very helpful in helping a child understand the death of someone close at a level they could comprehend.

Etta - posted on 03/13/2011

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We have always taken our kids to funerals when the time came. I even had to leave one because my daughter was so young I had to breastfeed during the service.
We just had our 4 year old at a funeral last week.
If it's necessary, it can be a time to have a conversation about the end of life & how if we keep thinking & talking about a person, then they are never really gone.

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Kathleen - posted on 03/14/2011

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I believe its best to teach your children about life and death early in life they need to know about life They won't be scared if you explain it in a good way when my husband died my grandson was eight he cried and felt so bad His papa was the main person in his life I explained to him that papa didn't take good care of his life grandson ask about what causes people to die sometimes it might be because they were in poor health try to tell him people need to eat good food Have good friends and never hang out with the wrong crowd never use alcohol or drugs There's a way to teach your children you just need to know your child and don't over use the word death Its been three years now and my grandson ask me to leave the pictures of papa and other's on the wall cause he like's to look at them and remember Death is part of live and most of us know someone that has come to the end of this life on earth everyday I explain to grandson that Papa is not sick anymore and maybe God lets him see us and if we live a good life we will be with him in heaven someday and thats a great place to be

Rachel - posted on 03/14/2011

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THank you all for your comments and suggestions unfortunately I was unable to go to the funeral but i did take some of the suggestions to explain to my son that his friend died and he wont see him anymore. Thank you all

Jasmine - posted on 03/14/2011

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My grandmother passed away very recently(October 2010) and I took my son who was 2 at the time. Because my mom and I are only children, I had to be there the entire time of her illness(colon cancer). No one expected her to go and go so quickly, so in the very last stages, we were there every day. My son who is very perceptive felt that something was going on so he made it a point to talk to her every day. Even within the last few hours of her life, he was there. Although she couldn't respond, he talked to her within her last moments and was in the room when she passed away. I used very simple language in my explanations to him. Instead of just saying that she was sick, I told him that she had cancer. I explained that she was tired and went to heaven with Jesus. Now when he says his prayers, he says "Grandmaw in heaven.." I also explained that it was okay to be sad but she is in a better place with Jesus and that seems to work. At the funeral, he understood that it was church and that we had to tell Grandmaw bye bye until we go to heaven a long time from now.. Hope this helps in your decision.

Teri - posted on 03/14/2011

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I agree with Jodi and Laura - It is difficult for children to understand death...that needs to be taught at the home first in my opinion, (thus the books). I also agree witih Laura that they are active and may be confused abt why people are behaving like that. I agree a memorial luncheon, or meal or mercy, or whatever they do "wake" wouold be ok...but the key is to let him understand abt death before he sees his friend in a coufin..I never thought children should be at funerals, but lately I have started to change my opinion....it all depends on the child, the closeness and the comprehension. Sorry for your loss

Mpho - posted on 03/14/2011

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if you a part of that particular family is fine yo can take him, but if you guys re not related, is another story

Rachel - posted on 03/14/2011

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Depends on the child. If he is able to sit still for a length of time without being loud or disruptive, then he would probably be better off going to the funeral so he can have closer too. Also depends on the family of the deceased. Do they have a problem with young children being here? I recently went to the funeral of a friend that I had known my whole life but that my kids didn't really know that well. I took both of them to the funeral. Son 4 and daughter 5 months. Kids accept thing a lot easier than adults do. However you decide to tell him that his friend is not going to be around anymore I think he needs the closer. You know your child best. I just think it would be harder to accept someone who has been around and been your friend just disappearing than to accept that they have died. Kids are amazing, they understand these things a lot better than most adults. Trust your instincts. Good luck.

Jane - posted on 03/13/2011

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my mother-in-law passed on in my house just next to the bathroom when she was about to enter into the toilet. She collapsed and died. My daughter 3 years old was watching her. It took her a very long time to forget of all what she saw. Now she is 11 years. She still narates on how her grandma fell and died. I tried alot of counselling which help her. Take the 4 and try to explain that God has called your friend to be with Him. Children of todays are very bright and sharp.

Susan - posted on 03/13/2011

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I'm sorry about your friend. I took my 4 year old son to his grandmother's funeral, where his 4 year old cousin was also in attendance. They both did fine. I think if you adequately prepare a child that age in advance as to what s/he may see at a funeral, that people may be upset and crying, if it's an open casket that the person will look different than they did in life, and they don't have to look if they choose not to, etc. that the child will take his/her cues from the parent. I hope that this helps.

Barbara - posted on 03/13/2011

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Do not forget that children need to go through their own grieving process. True, he is four but attending the funeral and explaining to him in words he understands will bring him through this. Children, if shielded from the life process will make up stories in their own mind to fit the facts such as blaming themselves. And remember that a four year old does not see the world like we adults do...

Sharon - posted on 03/13/2011

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yes It is all a mystery You will know when they are ready Tell in there language but don't show .

Tiffany - posted on 03/13/2011

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I just my 3 to my grandpa's their great grandpa's funeral on Friday the 11th of March. My daughter is 4 years old, my son is 21 months and my youngest son is 5 months. My family and I saw nothing wrong with them going. I just brought snacks and toys to play with and my husband was there for support and to help with the kids.

Nikki - posted on 03/13/2011

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When my grandfather who was very close with my twins boys died, we took them to the funeral and wake. They were only 2 at the time. We explained to them that he died, kind of explained death (as delicatley as you can to a 2 year old) and told them that after he died, he moved to a star. We picked the brightest star in the sky and told them whenever you want to say hi, say hello to the star and when it twinkles back, that him saying hello back. They are 4 now and understand that he is no longer with us, but that they can always say hi.

Kim - posted on 03/13/2011

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Funerals help us begin the grieving process - knowing what we are letting go of, and letting go of it. Unfortunately, funerals are pretty much in adult language, so it probably won't meet your son's need to define and work through grief. Whether you take him or not, you might consider finding a way to remember your friend with your son so that your son can say goodbye in his own way. One suggestion is to make a picture book of pictures of your son and the friend - each page describing an attribute of the friend. "X loved to laugh", "X liked my smile", "X always gave me gum" - notice the past tense language. It will help the letting go process. Just an idea.

April - posted on 03/13/2011

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My father passed away when I was young and many other family friends passed away when I was under the age of 10. I always went to the funerals and I appreciate not always seeing the positive side of life. I think it's good to be exposed to life as it comes. I learned more out of hard times growing up than I did out of everything being fun ( although of course fun is very important!)
I don't think any age is too young, just be prepared for tough questions and be sure to give a sufficient answer.

Heather - posted on 03/13/2011

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Just had this discussion today. We lost two family members today and we talked about whether or not to take out 6 year old. These were not people he knew too well and we decided that he and I would stay home (it is on my husband's side). I think it depends on your beliefs, the relationship the child had, and the maturity level and understanding of the child. I don't think my son would even stay quiet for the length of the funeral and I imagine he would ask a lot of hard questions. If you are taking a 4 year old simply because you need to go then I would probably consider a babysitter. This might be an overwhelming experience or it could be just a part of life that we all have to deal with. I would talk to the child about what is going on and decide what is best for everyone involved.

Debbie - posted on 03/13/2011

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definitely not my daughter had already been to a few by that age unfortunately

Rhonda - posted on 03/13/2011

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I was taught in graduate school (Counseling) that death is part of life and that children will handle things on their developmental level. Basically, in your case I would take my child.

Beth - posted on 03/13/2011

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It is a personal choice, but we need to remember that children do grieve too, and they understand so much more than we give them credit for. When my mother passed away a few months ago, my boys were only 5 and 7, but I felt it was very important for them to get to say goodbye also and too understand, that people we love sometimes die and that this is a part of life. As much as my kids loved their grandma, I don't think I would have forgiven myself if I hadn't taken them. And don't be too concerned about behavior, my boys can hardly sit still for 10 minutes, but it's like they understand that this is not the time or place. Again remember it is a personal choice, just follow your heart.

Grammy - posted on 03/13/2011

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I have 3 grown daughters and from a very young age have always taken them to funeral homes, friends or family, they never had a problem with it and if they ask questions be honest with them nicely. If done correctly they will respect funerals. Also they will someday have to attend a close funeral and better to be familier.

Thubelihle - posted on 03/13/2011

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He is too young. He will be very confused and scared. Unless its close family, I don't think you should take him. When my dad passed aways my son and my niece were about 4yrs, we took them to church but we let them play outside while the service was on, after the service we just took them straight home, they never went to the cemetery.

Anna - posted on 03/13/2011

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i've always taken my small children. it's part of life.... and they even walk through the line and kiss the cross in the casket ...God will bless them since it is "as if they are visiting Him"...

Carol - posted on 03/13/2011

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Unless its a close family relative or a close "framily" member (friends that are like family) I wouldn't take them. At 4 they still don't understand the permanancy of death and may be confused as to why these people are sad and crying. I remember a friend's 5 yr old attending a funeral for her grandmother and wanting to take the "gramma doll" home to show gramma the next time she visited. This girl in now in her early 20's and talks about that memory and how confusing and upsetting it was. Hope that helps.

But, all kids are different and you need to do what you think you think is best for your children.

Brenda - posted on 03/13/2011

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just read some of our post very confused now are we doin wright not takin our grandchildren

Brenda - posted on 03/13/2011

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i have just lost my mothering law and we are not letting 12yr old and 9year old and 4yr old grandchildren go we think its bad enough havin to go when you get older do you want children seein parents and family upset oh i dont really no what is right or wrong kids are more open minded

Shontel - posted on 03/13/2011

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Yes you should take him. as long as you explain death in the manner he will understand, you have to make it not so sad that he is in a better place, not sure what your religious beliefs are...but when my sister passed away my daughter was four years old and I had to convince her that heaven was where she was needed now. I think if you don't let him go, he will be confused on what happened to him.

Kim - posted on 03/13/2011

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I think if I were in your situation I would not bring my son. My feeling is why subject your child to the funeral and all the emotions and people.

Ruby - posted on 03/12/2011

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IT DEPENDS ON THE AGE I WOULD NOT BRING MY SON UNTIL HE IS OLD ENOUGH TO KNOWS WHATS GOING ON

Marcie - posted on 03/12/2011

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Ive taken both of my boys to several wakes and they have been fine with it, they were 1 and 4 at the time. They had some questions but they were not bothered by the open casket, they went to visit the person once then went in the back or in another room with the other kids and colored, played cs's, etc... they were fine, never had nightmares or fear of death etc..

Diane - posted on 03/12/2011

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It really depends on whether the child knows the person who passed away. my Kids were only 4, 6, and 7 when their great grandfather passed away and they went to the funeral. the middle child did not want to view the body so i did not push her to do so. if you do decide to take children make sure you sit down with them first and explain everything to them so they are not confused at the funeral as to what is happening.

Deb - posted on 03/12/2011

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i am not sure if its the polish but they would have the kids be a part of it, allows them to see its just a way of life.. like birth

Jenni - posted on 03/12/2011

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I took my son to my Uncle's funeral when he was 2 years old. To me death is a natural part of life and I don't feel any need or desire to shelter my children from it.



If it's an issue of respect. You know your son better than anyone else and if he can behave quietly and respectfully during the funeral.

Grandma Fred - posted on 03/12/2011

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Four is pretty young. When they are able to grasp the idea of death, especially in a Christian perspective, you can explain that the body they will see is like an empty house. The occupants have moved somewhere else. In the case of a dead body, the soul has moved out and gone to heaven. If you are comfortable with this, then start with calling hours and see how it goes. How people around the child are handling the death will affect how well the child is doing. The death of a young person is far more emotional (usually) than an older person.
Keep explanations simple, but be prepared to answer questions.
Hope this helps!
Grandma Fred

Bernie - posted on 03/12/2011

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I was 4 when my Mother died, and I was very much a part of her funeral and the sadness. I remember the caring concern everyone had, and I have been able to deal with death better all my life, because of it. It you don't involve little ones, it is like it is scary and off limits. Death is as much a part of life as life. It is sad and we have the emotions of sadness, but it is ok to take kids to funerals just explain your belives. and the goodness of our creater. Children need to know.

Catherine - posted on 03/12/2011

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I'd say 4 was too young. I was taken to a funeral of an aunt when I was 6. (I'm 53 now). I was fine whilst I was there but it played on my mind for many years after. I had to sleep wit my mum for a week orso after. It's something that I always remember. Both my boys have been to funerals they are know 22 and 17 but neither of them went to one until they were 12 and 13 respectively. I wouldn't take them because of how I felt.

Kristi - posted on 03/11/2011

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I liked Jodi's idea. I think it's good for children to come to a funeral to say goodbye to a close friend or family member, but not entirely necessary if the child did not really have a relationship with that person. I think it's sad not to allow a kid to participate in a funeral ceremony if saying goodbye will help them grieve for someone they loved by seeing that others are also grieving, and that it's okay and helps us heal. I like to tell my kids that mommy feels better after a good cry, so that they don't feel uncomfortable when they see grownups being upset or shedding tears. But if your child wasn't close with the person, maybe it isn't really necessary. I like the idea of bringing them to a life celebration or wake.

Candace - posted on 03/11/2011

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I do not think 4 is to young! I had no choice to take my 4 yr old and 1 yr old to a funeral! Surprised I was they did well! Just like at Church! The person was cremated so no open casket. I might not have gone if it were open casket! That is hard to explain, but I explained that there were going to be alot of tears and what had happened to our friend! My four yr old shared a few tears with me and said he would miss her. We talk about her often and says he will see her in heaven someday! I think it also depends on how mature your 4 yr old is and if they would be able to understand it! It was easier to explain this to him about a friend of mine that he had net a handful of times then someone that he was extremely close to! Now that we have gone to a funeral he knows what to expect anything serious ever happened to an extremely close family member or close friend! On another note there were alot of kids attending the funeral I went to and I think that makes a difference as well! I hope this helps!

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Yes It Is.Their far to young to understand & From my own experience,the 4 yr old will only want to play.My Suggestion is to find a Babysitter for the day & Dont try to explain what has happened a they will not fully understand what has happened.

Candi - posted on 03/11/2011

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When my grandmother died, I didn't take my kids. They were only 4 and 5 at the time. The youngest wasn't born yet. I didn't take them b/c my husband was in Iraq, got to come home for the funeral and a few days after the funeral was my daughter's birthday. She was so excited to have her dad home for her birthday, I didn't even tell them why we had to go to SC. (we were living in Germany)I thought the last thing they needed was to see a dead person, then watch their dad leave for war. I don't know, just my opinion

Teresa - posted on 03/11/2011

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It totally depends. It is a very personal decision. If your children don't know the person well, then I would say to keep them home. If, however, it is someone they are very close to, I would say it's a personal decision. My husband and I differ on this. I grew up going to wakes and funerals from early on, and it never bothered me. My husband went to his first one at around age 10 and he says it traumatized him. I say that's because he hadn't been exposed early enough! When my mother died, my nieces were all at the wake, 8,6,3, and 1 at the time. We thought that was OK for them. I really don't think there's an absolute right or wrong. You know your child and what they can handle. You know what will be comforting vs traumatizing for your kids (and that may be different for each kid). Go with your gut. Good luck :)

Candi - posted on 03/11/2011

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My uncle died late January this year. He was like a brother to me. My parents took custody of him as a teenager, when my grandparents died, so he lived with us most of his life. He suffered from a major heart attack at 44 and went on disability, so he moved back in with my parents! At 51 he passed away...but anyway, everytime we went to visit my parents, my uncle was there and it was great seeing him. I was not going to take my kids to his memorial, but I had to speak there and my in-laws(babysitters. lol) had to go unlock the church we were using, so my kids ended up going. My brother had his 2 kids there also. My kids are 12, 10, and 5. My brothers kids are 9 and 6. My cousin also had her 1 yr old there. Its really up to you. Ours was a family gathering, very intimate, so having kids there was ok

Pam - posted on 03/11/2011

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This is my thought: lots of considerations here. Is your four year old able to sit quietly for approximately an hour? Is this funeral for someone who had a long life and it's a celebration of their life whereby having a child there would be okay and any behavior by your child will be viewed as a symbol of life's idealism. If not, it could be disruptive and the grieving family might feel stressed if your child was to have a bit of a meltdown during the eulogy. As for how it effects a four year old? They are too young, they look for your cues and if you are upset and crying, it might effect them terribly. Again, though, if you were to go and the baby was able to sit through it, and not disrupt, it would be a welcome sight to see a little one. Okay, tried to offer all sides, and leave it up to you.

MELANIE - posted on 03/11/2011

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No, its okay, you will have to explain the situation as far as the death of the love one, that he or she is not coming back.

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I went to my grandfather's funeral when I was about 9 and I had nightmares for months. I say no. But that's just me.

Teresa - posted on 03/11/2011

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I have never taken my children when they were young, even though my mother thought I should. I just personally believe that children are susceptible to strong emotions and would be confused by the grief they witnessed. I also do not believe that children under the age of maybe 10 would understand the concept of death and I did not want to risk it causing issues for my child. My oldest son, Ben, was 5 when my grandmother passed away. My grandmother had lived with Ben and I until he was 4 and then she moved in with my mother. My mother was very upset with me for not allowing Ben to go to my grandmothers funeral but I wanted Ben to remember his memaw as she was, not in death. I hope this helps.

Marg - posted on 03/11/2011

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No I took my children to my sons funeral and they were 2,9, and 10 years of age and they are now 20 27 and 28 and they all say that it was the right decision in there eyes to go to their brothers funeral to say goodbye, they took flowers and pictures and they wrote their feelings down on paper and a piece of them went with him.

Bonnie - posted on 03/11/2011

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It depends on the child. It could be a traumatic experiece. I took my child only to the cemetery.

Jeannette - posted on 03/11/2011

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no 4 is not too young to take to a funeral. you should plan to explain what will go on there and how the child should behave but it important for children to be able to grieve as well as see you grieve also. it is ok to cry in front of your child also.

Verona - posted on 03/11/2011

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Well I have brought my children to funerals when they were much younger than 4, but I didn't let them view the body. Maybe you should talk to your 4 yr old first so when it happens you're prepared. I hope this was helpful.

Sherri - posted on 03/11/2011

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4 is certainly not to young. Death is a part of life. My kids have been attending wakes and funerals there entire lives. I will never shield them from it and it is definitely something they should experience and learn to deal with.

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