A Kaddish service might seem frightening to children who haven't experienced it before. However, the Kaddish recitation service is a beautiful and healing part of mourning. Kaddish is the Mourner's Prayer. In the Jewish faith, the Mourner's Prayer is said as a gift for the loved one who has died. Consider these ways you can best prepare children for their first Kaddish recitation service.
Talk to Your Kids About Death
Before you directly discuss the Kaddish recitation service and all that it entails, discuss the topic of death with your children. This is a conversation that you can let them lead. You may specifically talk about death from a faith-based point of view. This is also a good idea to talk about traditions in the Jewish faith.
Start by asking them about what they already know about death. If they lost an elderly relative or even a pet in the past, they may have a certain knowledge of death. If not, they still might have some distinct impressions about death from mentions in books, films, and television shows.
Once you get an idea of what your children already know about death, talk to them about it on a deeper level. As you discuss death, you may start to delve into the Kaddish service. They may already know about the Mourner's Prayer. If not, gently tell them the story of how it is the most loving thing you can do for your loved one who has passed away now.
Consider Going to Counseling
Discussing death, the memorial service and the Kaddish recitation service are all heavy things to handle. You may want to go to family counseling for having these deep conversations. A licensed grief counselor will be able to help your children in ways that you might not be able to since they're experienced in helping grieving families. The counselor may be able to give you advice on how to help your kids moving forward through the Kaddish service and the complex process of grieving as a family.
Ask Kids Questions Before the Service
As the service draws near, ask children some simple questions to make sure they're handling things okay. This can also be a good way to see things from their perspective. That can also help you see red flags that can help you realize your child isn't ready to attend the service. If they express a lot of fear or you sense they are depressed, you may want to seek further help for them, and they may not be ready for the service.
Finally, trust your own feelings as a parent or caregiver when it comes to what your children are ready to handle. Some children in early elementary school will be able to handle the Kaddish recitation service with care and preparation from parents while it will be too much for some children. Gently talk to your children about the situation, and you will likely be able to determine whether each child is ready for the service.