Grief information - Center Point-Urbana Community School District

Grief information

Grief Resources

When someone loved dies, children express themselves in a variety of ways.

Some ways children express grief include: apparent lack of feelings, acting-out behaviors, and fear. Children may regress and all of the sudden need to be rocked to sleep, or help doing things they once could, this is usually temporary. If the child is showing explosive emotions, that is healthy and part of the healing process. It provides a means of temporary protesting the painful reality of loss. Be supportive, understanding and do not argue. Allow the child to let go of pent up emotions. Healthy grief requires that we express, not repress these feelings.

Allow the child to ask questions and answer them honestly using literal language. Talk to them about death being a part of everyday life (a bird that he saw on the ground that died, a past pet, etc). Don’t say “passed away” or “person is sleeping” as then the child might be afraid to go to sleep. If the person had cancer talk to the child about what cancer is and why they died from cancer and stay away from “the person was sick.”

Many children will grieve but not mourn. Mourning is how we express our feelings outwardly. Such as drawing pictures of how they are feeling, drawing a pictures of loved one and what they liked to do, write a letter to the loved one, continuing to talk about the loved one from the child’s perspective (tell me about the person), provide him with keepsakes that belong to the loved one, keep pictures up, go to places of special significance, look at photo albums, etc. You could also create a memory box or a memory book/scrap book. Remember too that little people are more likely to experience “ghosts, spirits, or see our dead loved ones.” If the child says that they see person at the kitchen table or that the person visited, and they find comfort in this, keep them talking (what was the person doing, what did they look like, what did they say?)

Below are resource that you may find useful in dealing with grief. Click on the link to download the documents.
Helping elementary students with stress and grief
Helping teens with stress and grief
Helping adults with stress and grief
How to help following a death
Supporting your child_English
Explaining a wake or funeral
Preparing Your Child to Attend the Funeral of a Friend

Some helpful books for elementary students

1. The Invisible String
2. When Dinosaurs Die
3. Where Are You?
4. The Elephant in the Room
5.  Finding Grandpa Everywhere
6. Tear Soup


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