Informing your child about the loss of a loved one is no easy task. In addition to that, you may find telling them about cremation to be even more difficult.
We have compiled some thoughtful input on the topic for your consideration. Here are several ways to frankly explain cremation to a child.
First, you must determine whether the child understands loss in terms of death. Without this background knowledge, they will likely struggle to comprehend cremation.
Explain to your child that your loved one’s spirit is no longer in their body. We find it best to mention how you can’t see someone once they become a spirit. You may find it helpful to use figurative language that they can understand, such as:
If you have a strong faith, you may want to mention how your loved one has gone to heaven or is with God. It’s generally best to keep your explanations as simple as possible and resist going into too much detail.
Once you’re sure that your child understands death, you can begin to explain cremation. Throughout this process, make a point to use age-appropriate language.
While you want to be honest, it’s important to be mindful of the words you use. You may want to avoid saying how the body will burn in a fire, as some children will find this upsetting.
Instead, you can say something like:
Throughout the process, it’s best to emphasize how your lost loved one doesn’t need their body anymore. They won’t feel any pain from the cremation process. You may want to mention how many people take care of their lost loved ones this way and that it’s a natural part of death.
If your child has questions, do your best to answer them as honestly as possible. The only details you may leave out are ones that they may find potentially upsetting. However, by answering their questions, they will likely leave the conversation with a greater level of understanding. This is a good way to frankly explain cremation to a child.
For example, an older kid may ask more about how the warm room turns the body to ash. When you know the child understands that the process won’t cause your lost loved one any pain, you may want to admit how the process uses fire.
At Honor You, we are here to help you every step of the way by offering advice and custom memorial items to preserve the memory of your loved one. If you have any questions, please reach out to our team of compassionate memorial specialists.