What About School

Riley Children's Grief Team

Returning to school can be both a source of comfort and a source of anxiety for surviving siblings. On one hand, it can provide a respite from the reality of home and it can be comforting to be in a familiar routine. On the other hand, returning to school may bring uncomfortable attention and conversations. Some things to keep in mind:

  • Allow children some control about what information and how much information is shared. You can ask your child if he/she would like for you to share the news with the principal or teacher. If so, how much information is shared such as details of the circumstances? You can also ask your child if they prefer the teacher to inform the classmates or if your child would prefer to share the news with their peers. Providing your child a little bit of control over this information can be helpful in what is typically a stressful experience.
  • It is typical for children to struggle to concentrate. Just like adults, many grieving children have trouble focusing on tasks and information. If your child’s grades decline, be supportive and seek help through a grief counselor or primary care provider.
  • Many educators, including school counselors, are not trained in grief or supporting grieving students. This may lead to inappropriate advice or unrealistic expectations.

Consider sharing resources from the Coalition to Support Grieving Students with your child’s school. They offer educators and school personnel free online training modules on how to support grieving students.