Children's Grief

The Van Tassel Funeral Home is committed to providing holistic care to all the families we serve.  We recognize that children and adolescents have special needs when it comes to understanding death and dying.  To meet these needs we offer specially tailored programming for children and adolescents.

The Van Tassel Funeral Home offers a preparation program for children and adolescents prior to attending a visitation or funeral.  During this time, families have the opportunity to meet with a certified child life specialist and learn about what to expect at a visitation or funeral in a developmentally sensitive manner. This preparation program involves the use of a picture book to help children understand what they may see, a guided tour, and an expressive activity.  This can be done days before a visitation or funeral or even a few hours before the service. 

For those children and adolescents choosing to attend a visitation or funeral, the Van Tassel Funeral Home offers developmental support from a certified child life specialist.  Children and adolescents have the opportunity to participate in expressive art activities to assist in saying good bye to their loved ones.

The Van Tassel Funeral Home provides an onsite playroom for children.  Our playroom has a variety of toys in a safe space for children to take a break during a service or visitation.

Please contact us (973) 743-1234 to inquire about these services and for more information.

Families experiencing a loss may wonder how to talk with their children about the death of a loved one and whether or not children should attend a visitation or funeral.  The National Center for Grieving Children and Families recommend the following: 

  • When talking with children about a death it is important that children hear the news from a person they trust. Being honest with a child about the death of a loved one is an important first step in helping that child to grieve.
  • Children need a short, simple explanation about the death in words they can understand.  Allow for the child to ask questions and let their questions guide what additional information you share.
  • Avoid euphuisms, such as the person is sleeping, lost, or passed away as these can be confusing to children.
  • Give children and teens the choice about whether or not to attend a funeral or visitation. In order to make a choice they should be given information about what happens at a funeral or visitation such as why people have funerals, what happens during them, who will be there, when it will happen, and how long it will last. Providing this information helps children make an informed choice.
  • Children should be supported in the decision that they make on whether or not they choose to attend a funeral or visitation. 

You can find additional information and helpful resources on their website: