Talking With Children

“A lot of my teachers, actually, did not do a lot, which was not helpful at all. It makes you feel kind of awkward, makes you feel very, very alone, very not understood.” (Student)

School professionals make a world of difference when they reach out to grieving students. This module describes ways students benefit from grief support. It provides strategies for starting a conversation with a student. It identifies common and well-meaning statements that may not be helpful, then offers alternatives to help you feel confident your conversation will be constructive. It outlines ideas for sustaining helpful conversations over time and suggests ways to build effective support among peers when a classmate experiences the death of a close family member or friend. The video includes interviews with students, educators and administrators, as well as four simulated encounters with actors that model approaches educators can use in different situations.

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View the video by chapters:

Why you should reach out to grieving students

Strategies for starting the conversation

Navigating reluctance and communicating with empathy

Simulated encounters

For more information on supporting grieving children, refer to The Grieving Student: A Guide for Schools by David Schonfeld and Marcia Quackenbush.