It is important that teachers and other adults who work with children know when a child has experienced a loss. Simple compassion and acknowledgement of the loss, as well as providing a routine, are essential in helping the child through the grieving process.
Here are some ways teachers can help:
- Provide a routine.
- Notify other adults who have contact with the child of the loss.
- Provide time to talk to a guidance counselor or other professional about the child’s loss.
- Convey to the child that it is OK to be sad and express such feelings.
- Provide the child with opportunities to deal with feelings that may arise during the course of the day.
- Give the child tasks that allow him or her to take a break and leave the room.
- Lighten the child’s workload.
Depending on the child, the following activities may be helpful:
- Develop a class project around pet loss.
- Read a book and lead the class in a discussion of the book.
- Work with the class to create a bulletin board where pictures, stories, photos, poems and other memories may be posted to celebrate and remember pets.
- Have the children keep a journal. Suggest starters such as, “I remember.…”, “One of the best times we had.…” or “My favorite thing about my pet.…”