This is old, but we processed again today, so I thought I would chime in anyway
I care a great deal about the animals we raise, and it is hard for me to butcher them, but I could not buy meat that was factory raised or sent to auction or to the butcher- I need to do it myself because of how much I care for them.
The first time we butchered, DH and I worked together, but I was not really sure how it would go myself, so I was honest with the kids, I told them what we were doing and where we were doing it- but I gave them an easy out of fun activities and a movie inside if they wanted.
That first time my oldest wandered out a few times, stayed only a moment and then went back inside.
We have processed and butchered many many times here since then. This last time, my oldest, nine. Wanted to butcher her own. It was also hard for her, but she wanted to do it, I insisted on helping with a few parts, but she wanted to do it and did well.
My 2nd oldest has wandered in and out of various butcherings and processings, and my poor baby is usually on my back in a carrier- so she has seen plenty of them.
My point is just that we did not really push it at all, but we were always direct and honest about it, and given their own timing each child has come to it.
When we eat our meat, my children are proud and appreciative, they do not waste food when it is such a blessing that the animal gave us- and they are a part of that
ALL our animals have names, and they are all treated with the same kindness and playfulness and care as our house dogs are- when we eat a bird at the table they kids want to know who it was and they talk about that animal
My oldest has helped with wild game, deer, she has helped with fish, and with chickens, turkeys and ducks. The first time we kill a hog I will not have her there just because I myself do not know what to expect, and I want to be emotionally present for my kids when they experience it for the first time as well. Now, that I am familiar with processing birds, I can welcome new folks to help and to watch- I still have a horrified pained look on my face, and I am still very sad, and I am glad my kids get to see that it affects mom and dad too - death is a heavy thing, and hope it remains a heavy thing at our home
anyway good luck! Give it time and space