When your child experiences 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 so that 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 with your children’s teachers and the school principal to 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.
Let them know about the loss, about the relationship of the person/animal/object/situation lost with your child, and then explain the impact that the loss is having on your child. Talk about changes you expect to see in their behavior, changes that you have already seen, and 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 to go through. The counselor might also recommend regular sessions for your child to meet with them 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 adjust to life after the 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.