Easing Back into School for Grieving Kids

Easing Back into School for Grieving Kids by Lisa Templeton-Farmer, Grief Programs Manager

When summer vacation winds down and kids head back to school, grieving families might find that the new year brings new stress. Frequent, good communication with your child and his/her school is key to an easier transition.

The most important thing is to talk with your child’s teachers, counselor, social worker and even the principal. Let them know about your family’s loss, and check in with them regularly to watch for things such as slipping grades, not eating lunch, not interacting with friends and not playing at recess. The more people involved, the less likely any potential problems will go unnoticed.

A quick e-mail or phone call is all it takes to see how your child is doing.

It’s also very important to consider whether there are any big changes, such as going to a different school or going to school for the first time. Even starting middle or high school, which is planned and necessary, is still a change that could complicate the stress of a new school year.

Keep in mind that loss often makes children more clingy, so if you were able to take time off in the summer and spent a lot of time together, your child might cling to you when it’s time to return to school. Likewise, stay-at- home parents might have to make an adjustment and get used to not having the kids around during the day.

Kids also could be shy about discussing their loss with others. Talk to your child about how he/she would like classmates to learn about the loss. The more control children have, the better. They might want a parent or guardian to talk to people at school; they might want their teacher to say something to the other students; or they might want little said about it.

Although school might add stress, the upside is that children can return to their routine, which can be a comfort to children as well as adults. It can be a comfort for kids, especially older children and teens, to be back with their support system of friends.

Camp Carousel also might be a good Fall activity for your family. It’s weekend retreat for families with grieving children. Learn more


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