The death of a student may affect a child in a variety of ways depending on the age of the child, how well the child knew the student, and the child’s prior experience with grief.
When reacting to a death, a child may display behaviors such as the following:
* Clings close to adults
* Displays regressive behaviors
* Appears not to be affected
* Thinks about it privately
* Asks a lot of questions
* Appears frightened
* Appears agitated and angry
* Appears sad and withdrawn
* Displays difficulty sleeping
Listen to your children. If they seem to need to talk, answer their question simply, honestly and possibly over and over again. Below are some suggestions that you may find useful in helping your child deal with the death:
* Assure fearful children that you will be there to take care of them. Reassure them many times.
* Provide physical closeness. Spend extra time putting your child to bed. Talk and offer reassurance.
* Encourage children to ask questions and to discuss, write or draw their feelings.
* Be a good listener. Listen carefully for any misconceptions or distortions the student may have regarding what happened.
* Talk with your child and provide simple, accurate information to questions.
* Provide play and fun experiences to relieve tension.
* Remind them of concrete examples of where they are being protected and cared for by parents, adults, teachers, police, etc.
* Make sure the child gets rest and exercise.