Tips for Explaining Cremation to a Child

While death is a part of the circle of life, this reality doesn’t really make it any easier to deal with. And this can be compounded if you have to explain what death means to a child who might not have the necessary frame of reference. It can be even more of a challenge if you need to explain cremation in a way that makes the process understandable to a child. While an Old Hickory, TN funeral home and cremations service provider can help you explain the process in a way that even a child can understand, here are some tips to help you get the ball rolling.  


Differentiate Cremation from Burial 


Using language suitable for the ages and developmental stages of the child you’re talking to, differentiate burial from cremation. Let the child know, for instance, that their aunt, for example, did not want to be buried in the ground but instead wished to be cremated. You can say that cremation involves placing a body into a room that gets very hot and that turns the body to ashes. Be sure to explain to the child that the person feels no pain and is not aware of what is going on. Stay away from terms such as “burned” and “fire.” Those terms not only are loaded words with negative connotations, but also are inaccurate since the cremation chamber does not use fire to burn up the body. It’s the intense heat that does the work. The key is to choose the right words, keep your explanations short, make sure that the child understands and hammer home the fact that the deceased feels absolutely nothing during the entire process.  


Avoid Euphemisms 


When seeking to explain cremation to a child, remember that they may not be able to make sense of euphemisms so it’s best to steer clear of them and to opt for direct explanations. So don’t tell the child that their grandpa, for instance, has “passed away,” “gone to be with the Lord,” “gone to his rest” or anything else that might confuse a child.  


Include Them in Spreading Ashes 


If the plan is to scatter the ashes post-cremation, ask the child if they want to take part. If you plan to scatter the ashes on a private property, you can have the child help with the process. Let them know that it is what their deceased loved one wanted or would have wanted. You can, of course, also keep the ashes in an urn and put it on display. If this is the route you’re going to take, be sure to explain this to the child and ensure that they grasp the significance.  


Keep Line of Communication Open 


Encourage the child to ask questions, and keep the line of communication open. Be available at any time to answer questions or simply to talk with the child about the new normal brought about by a death in the family.


If you require more assistance in explaining cremation to a child, reach out to us at Ellis Funeral Home & Cremation Service. We’re the premier Old Hickory, TN funeral home and cremations service provider, and we’re committed to helping grieving families to plan the right body disposition service. We understand that the death of a family member is an emotionally trying time as you and your loved ones come to terms with your loss. For a free consultation, call at (615) 255-5412 or see us in person at 2627 Nolensville Pike Nashville, TN 37211

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