When your child grieves from a loss, the grieving process can take a toll on their school work and their relationships at school. If this occurs, it is important to communicate directly with the school about the situation. Personnel and teachers are better able to assist your child as they work through the difficult process of grieving.
While teachers are not grief counselors and may not understand much about how it proceeds, it is vital that you schedule a time to talk. Talk with your children’s teachers and the school principal. Discuss what is going on as soon as possible after the loss occurs. Set an appointment with relevant faculty and administration members to explain the situation. Explain every detail about how your child grieves from the loss.
Let them know about the loss, and about the relationship of the person/animal/object/situation to your child. Explain the impact that the loss is having on your child. Talk about changes you expect to see in their behavior, and changes that you have already seen. Discuss how you and teachers/administration will communicate about any changes that will occur at home and at school.
Invite the school counselor or psychologist to attend the meeting, if one is available at your school. This person will be more aware of the grief process than other staff members at the school and can help outline the stages to expect your child will go through as they grieve from a loss. The counselor might also recommend regular sessions for your child as they grieve from a loss so that they can work through it with professional guidance. If they don’t suggest it, you can request it.
Stay in communication with the school about the situation, and provide regular updates. Ask teachers about ways to encourage your child to still do their work at home or if they can modify your student’s workload for a time while they grieve from a loss. Encourage your school to visit GrievingStudents.org for more information about to help students who are grieving.
Work with a grief professional who can help you help your child through the loss. This can make the process easier for you and your child to handle. You can get tools to help your child do well in school and suggestions to help teachers help your child.
L. Hughes-Page, M.Ed.
L. Hughes Page is a Field Supervisor to student teachers in the Graduate Department of Education at Gwynedd Mercy University.