How to Support Your Child After the Death of a Classmate

Mother embracing and soothes depressed daughter

When a child learns of a classmate’s passing, it can elicit a wide range of reactions. Because children typically have little experience with death, or they may not have matured emotional capabilities, they may respond with anger, confusion, fear, or even numbness. You can help your child through the grieving process by keeping in mind these suggestions:

Take Time to Discuss His Concerns

As your child tries to cope with the passing of his classmate, he may have many questions. Depending on his age, some of those questions may encompass issues beyond his classmate’s death. Your child may want to talk about how the dying process occurs, what happens after death, and why people die at all. These far-reaching topics may require you to consider carefully your responses.

Encourage Outlets for Grief

If your child does not want to discuss his classmate’s passing, he may still be contending with strong emotions. You do not have to force your child to talk about the situation, but you can encourage him to mourn in other ways. For instance, ask him to write a poem or draw a picture. You can also have an at-home memorial service where you play special songs or look through photographs to remember his classmate.

Allow Him Time to Mourn

Many people may consider children resilient, but the death of a classmate can result in long-term grief that resurfaces over time. Even if your child appears happy and emotionally strong one day, he may hear his classmate’s name or recall a certain memory that prompts a return to sadness or confusion. Reassuring your child that he can take as much time as he needs to grieve can help him work through his emotions in a healthy way.

Have you or a loved one recently experienced a significant loss? Skylawn Funeral Home & Memorial Park offers grief support services for those in San Mateo and the surrounding areas. For more information on how we can help you through this difficult time, call (650) 349-4411 or visit our website

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