I always check with the families that I am working with, to see if they are expecting any children to attend the funeral. There are lots of reasons for doing this. There may well be the need to change the tone of the funeral to take into account the needs of the child, we may include the child in the service in some way, or I may need to help the family to prepare the child so that there are no surprises for them on the day.
I have no feelings myself either way about whether or not children should attend. I feel that every funeral is unique and different, and therefore I take my lead from the family. I do, however, feel that children absolutely show that life goes on. That the person everyone is grieving lives on, inside those they loved, created and nurtured.
Often my families chose for the children to avoid the actual service, but attend the celebration afterwards. I suggest this is presented to the children as a party to celebrate the life of their loved one. I will happily refer to this in my closing words, an often point out that a child/children are waiting at the party to celebrate together.
Children often add a welcome something to a service. They make you smile at moments where you never imagined that you would smile, they often steal the show. I find that they have an intuitive sense of the occasion and react accordingly. It never worries me if a child cries, talks or wanders around. That is just what they would have done in the presence of their loved one, so why shouldn't they do it at their funeral?
Children are proof that live goes on, it never ends, we carry the genes and DNA of those who walked the earth before we did, generations of our ancestors made us who we are today. Every single parent and grandparent, going back through the centuries, played their part. It is often when we are feeling sad, and full of grief, that we need to be reminded that the person we loved lives on.