By: Cha Cababaro
Maybe they’re still ganging up on their Halloween loot while wearing their costumes. Maybe they’re sharing scary stories under sheets with their friends, complete with flash light. Or maybe they’re just knocking at your door again for the nth time this week because your older kids’ pranks terrify them, begging you to be their bed buddy once more.
All Saints’ Day or Undas season is upon us, and it could be that you’re plagued with this question every single year October comes to a close – is it okay to bring the little ones to the cemetery?
While we see the cemetery as a dark, damp, morbid, and creepy environment for children to be in, there is actually no problem with tagging the tots along to pay the annual respects we have to our fallen loved ones.
In fact, here are some of the reasons we can encourage kids to participate in this holiday:
They’ll get to know your family history better.
Fancy a real-life Coco movie? Undas is a time when you can share stories about your family, starting with the oldest one in the grave you’re visiting. Recount childhood memories with great-grands, grandparents, and other family members your kids may have missed alive. It’ll also be cool if you can match photos with the names on the headstones!
They’ll learn about respect more.
While most cemeteries are literally just parks in the eyes of our kids, wide enough to invite a game of tag among cousins, it’s an opportunity to lecture them about respect in one of its forms. Remind them of the proper etiquette when in a cemetery. Teach them sensitivity to other people’s emotions, and that death is a serious and inevitable life season everyone should be understanding about.
They’ll realize the value of life.
Upon hearing your stories about loved ones who have passed on, perhaps the little ones will hear about these members’ poor health, old age, young age, full life, and accomplishments. It is a good way to open their sensibilities to how short life is, and that they can always make each day count in their own little ways.
If you have changed your mind about leaving the kids at home for Undas, you can check these tips out first before making your way to remember those who have gone before us:
Dress ‘em properly. Whether it’s a grassy park, a mausoleum, or another sort of grave, see to it that the children are well-clothed for the weather and terrain. Although there are almost no reported health hazards in well-kept cemeteries, you can never be too sure. After all, since it is a public place, disease carriers are present.
Disinfect. Pack up wet wipes, alcohol, and other products to keep them germ-free, especially before they snack up after a good run with other kids.
Don’t leave the children unsupervised. Public cemeteries cater to people from all walks of life. It’s easy to lose kids in a sea of people – and it doesn’t help that the place is dark and candle-lit! Set a perimeter where they can roam and impose a time when they should be back. It’s advisable to have them within your sight. Even so, keep an eye on where they’re going and who they’re interacting with – stranger danger!
Do activities together. Remember to bring board games, playing cards, and other fun activities to help you pass time as a family. Remind them not to be too loud, though!
Don’t stay too long. This goes especially for parents with newborns. This foreign environment might cause them to be fussy and uncomfortable. An hour would be okay.
If you still prefer not to have the little ones visit the cemetery, gently explain to them your reasons for deciding so. That way, they wouldn’t count it as an experience you asked them to miss out on with the family.
What do you think, mommy? Is it a go for your kids this year?
Cha is a 20-ish something Christian, solo, millennial Nanay to a soon-to-be 4-year old little girl. While working as a creative in an advertising agency, she finds time making music, travelling, and spacing out once in a while.