child in my class parent dies today(15 Posts)
A lovely child in my class' parent took their own life today, I am devastated for this child (primary school aged) and just wondered if anyone has any advice on how to handle this?
I was in the same situation as you just under a year ago, it's absolutely heartbreaking (and still is) How old is the child? I work in foundation so maybe very different for you?
I can honestly say that I just ignored all school 'protocol' and was very open with the remaining parent that I was there for them and their dc in any capacity, big or small and most importantly (I think) that this support was available outside of school hours too. I have become very good friends with them both and see them regularly for tea etc and envisage this continuing for many many years.
So sad, it really is such an awful situation for anyone to be in, my (now) friend is still very much moving slowly through the stages of grief but they continue to amaze me and the dc seem happy and settled.
Thanks for your reply, the child is in year 2 and yes its nothing but heartbreaking. I know and can fully comprehend what they have just lost but the child in my class was being quite matter of fact about it today.
Im just going to be really human and authentic about it- it sounds like you handled it beautifully.
Glad to hear the children are happy and settled a year on.
I can relate to the child being very matter of fact, the straight talking was breathtaking at times but children don't always do social graces do they?! Does the child know the way their parent passed away?
Not a teacher but we lost a close family member when dd was in yr 1. Teacher was great, lots of cuddly time when dd needed it and lots of updates.
No the child doesn't know and hopefully won't find that bit out for some time if ever.
I think I'm just going to play it day by day and be sensitive to what he needs.
I need to not get emotional myself which is hard when you feel so sad for them.
I have been in the same situation as a teacher (yr 3 child). The child was quite matter of fact, as you say, and often keen to discuss him in show/tell situations which was fine.
One of my owns DCs friends has recently lost a parent so looking at it from the other side I know that children often behave very differently at home to school. It's important that mum knows she can talk to you if things get difficult at home I think.
Also think about how you will deal with Fathers Day in a couple of weeks.
My friend had lots of support from a local bereavement support group and they were amazing at guiding her through the ways of dealing with her dc. They were eventually told how their parent died, with a counsellor there and unsurprisingly my little friend was very practical and matter of fact about it all. Children are amazing!
Consider getting in touch with Winston's wish www.winstonswish.org.uk/supporting-you/
They are a charity who aim to support bereaved children but also offer support and guidance to families and professionals who are involved with bereaved children. It may also be appropriate for you to guide the child's family to contact Winston's wish themselves for direct support for the child.
It's heartbreaking when that happens, one of my students lost their mother last year
I let the child know that if they need a break or time out that there is somewhere they can go (such as the reading corner) if they want to use it, and they can go there when they need to. Make sure they know they can talk to you, even during breaks if they would like. I also allowed the child to come in to the classroom and read or do colouring or any other quiet activity during breaks if they didn't feel like being out in the playground some days and they were allowed to bring one friend in with them (I usually work in the room during lunch so it wasn't a big deal).
Our year group also provide an 'out' for all students when Mothers/Fathers Day rolls around. There are three classes in my grade and one teacher will do the M/F day craft and the other two teachers will do other craft activities. Students can choose which activity they want to do. It's completely their choice, and we don't make a big deal of it: "Ms X is making <whatever>, Mr Y is doing <whatever> and Mrs Z is doing <whatever>. Please choose which activity you would like to do and go to that classroom.".
MS, your "out" is brilliant and has made me teary. I have no parents and when I was at school I was made to make mother/Father's Day cards. Not sure who they thought I'd be giving them too. Don't think they cared/thought.
I send a card to the child with a sending a hug type message on the front and a little note inside to say something like remember I'm always here if you need to talk or a hug at school.
The child will most likely be very matter of a fact about it from memory.
I taught a Year 2 child whose father was suddenly killed in a tragic accident. It was truly awful and still plays on my mind. It affected the whole community.
As a school we had a book where people could write messages to the family. I made sure the child had cuddles if needed and if needed to find their sibling at any time. One minute the child would appear fine but then then grief would hit like a wave- little things could set uncontrollable tears off. You just need to be there for that child but also provide some normality at school as home life will be far from it. Therefore school maybe a welcome relief and safe place.
There are some lovely books which may help (Badger's Parting Gifts?). The child also chose a special star in the sky and named it after Dad. There was a day when we wrote messages and attached them to balloons. I also second 'Winstons Wish'
It's very tough to deal with.
Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide
14-18 West Bar Green
Sheffield S1 2DA
National Helpline 0870 241 3337
Available 9am - 9pm every day
Just realised this is a week or so old. If am not too late have PM's you and this helpline may also be of help - they may have a website too.
You sound like a really caring teacher. I normally hate it when someone says trust your instincts but I am going to say trust your heart. Trust yourself to know how to handle a fragile child best.
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