It has been a Filipino tradition to visit our departed loved ones at the cemetery during the “Undas” season (All Saints Day and All Souls Day), with the whole family. As a kid, I grew up “tomb hopping” as we visit relatives and I enjoyed collecting melted candles. The cemeteries in Manila get so crowded that some LGU had to limit and sometimes no longer allow cars inside, people had to walk. I did experience a tiring walk as a kid.
If you are to bring kids with you at the cemetery, what should you prepare and expect as well? How do we keep them safe and at the same time, have a hassle-free and worthwhile visit? I am no expert but here are some things to remember during a cemetery visit with kids. These are what I have learned through news, from reading and from experience too.
- Prep the older kids before leaving the house about the place to visit and about security. Make sure they have their IDs and that they know their parents’ name, address and phone number, if possible. Cemeteries, as I have mentioned, can really be overcrowded.
- This is one of the many times your baby sling or baby carrier can be of great use. Go hands-free! You can also at least let your hands attend to other things your husband or other kids’ need. A sturdy stroller with harness is advised for toddlers though.
- Pack sufficient food and water for everyone. You do not really need to bring a lot because, there are fast food stalls set up in every cemetery. For your babies, a pre-measured formula is a must. The baby sling is again of good use for breastfeeding moms.
- Prepare wet tissues, soap, diapers, medicine, small towel and extra clothes in an easy to carry bag or backpack. Best to also bring some plastic bags for your disposables.
- A tent or tarpaulin ( if there is a place to set it up) is recommended too. If there’s none, bring a water-proof picnic mat or changing pad, small folding chairs, umbrella and hats instead.
- To keep the kids preoccupied, do not forget to bring books, board games, and soft toys. Make this an away-from-gadget day!
- Never forget the candles, flowers and lighters. A photo of the departed can be brought too. And as you light the candles, gather the whole pack to offer prayers for the soul of our dearest loved ones.
As you visit the cemetery, list down the contact numbers of the security team or the police, there are over 3,000 assigned in each cemetery for Metro Manila. May this year’s visit be meaningful and as hassle-free as possible.