Meet with the child’s teacher and talk about what has happened. It is important that:
- The teacher has correct and appropriate information about the death.
- The child’s class is appropriately informed and that a decision is made about who will do this and when. The child may want or need to have a say about this. This gives some sense of control and safety.
- The teacher puts in place ways of supporting the child if distressed e.g. phoning the parent and/or taking the child to a quiet place in the school.
- There is regular contact with the teacher to check perceptions about the child, to share ways of ongoing support for the child and to inform the teacher of any significant occasions that might be coming up.
Ways of supporting a grieving child
- Provide a safe space
- Have a regular routine
- Be consistent
- Be honest
- Be reassuring
- Give adequate and appropriate information
- Include and involve the child in appropriate decision making and in what is happening
- Acknowledge feelings and give support when they are overwhelming
- Provide opportunities to remember, create a memory box and make a memory book, draw, paint, make a collage, write stories, poems, collect photos
- Prepare for important occasions – anniversary of the death, birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day holidays.
For specific information about how to speak with children about suicide go to Tell me what happened.