Return to School: 3 Tips to Ensure a Smooth Transition for Grieving Kids
As children return to school after a summer break, many have mixed feelings. Moving up a grade means new classrooms, activities, peers, teachers, and routines. While for some, new things are exciting, grieving children can find that change causes feelings of stress and anxiety. After experiencing a loss, grieving kids often feel the need for consistency and a sense of control in their lives—at home and in school.
For this reason, taking steps to ensure a smooth transition back to school is important for grieving kids. This will help minimize a child’s stress by creating a safe space at school and at home. Here are three tips to help a grieving child return to school this fall.
1. Talk to Your Child
Encouraging your child to talk about how they are feeling is one of the best things you can do.. Ask your child what they are excited and nervous about for the upcoming school year. Check in with them continuously about their day, what happened at school, and what they liked and disliked. Even if they are not ready to talk right away, it can help them knowing you are there to listen. This also shows care and support for them during a time of change.
2. Communicate with School Staff
While there are many things out of your control during the school day, you can communicate with the school staff they will interact with daily, like teachers and counselors. By taking this initiative and being proactive, school staff can become informed about what has happened in the child’s life and what they are going through. It’s best not to assume that this year’s teacher knows that your child is grieving.
3. Enroll in Grief Support Programs
For many children, grief is disorienting and disjointing. It can challenge their experience just as they are beginning to grow and learn, including their sense of emotion, intellect, physical body, meaning, and purpose. As many people in their day-to-day life will not be able to relate to their experience and feelings, it’s valuable to find support elsewhere. A grief support program will offer a safe space for grieving children to process feelings, share memories, and connect with others who face similar adversity.
It may also be beneficial to suggest grief support and resilience building programs for the entire school. Good Grief Schools helps school communities understand the impacts of grief and provides teacher training, parent education, and student development opportunities. To learn more about what we do, contact us online.