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Bereavement.. Childs Father Suddendly Died At Weekend


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Hi everyone..

i am fully aware this is dreadful of me to try and quickly seek answers ....


have had a quick scan though past posts surrounding bereavement and dealing with a death. But my biggest favour is if any of you kind souls could drop me any hints or words of wisdom.


I work in an early years unit and a child in Reception suddenly lost her dad on saturday. She has not been in school all week but is due to return 2maro morning at 9.30 because she has said she would like to see her friends.


Before she arrives her mum would like us to talk to our classes about what has happened.. I have never had to deal with somethin like this before and the more i think about it the deeper im thinking oh my goodness how do i word it etc!!!


If any of you have any great ideas of suggestions of wording the talk to my 4 year olds please please let me know! im off out this evening to a meeting but would love to be able 2 stay and read through the reams of info on here..


hope this makes sense..


Your help and advice will be much appreciated :) thanks in advance :)

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Sorry to hear that Emma. My experience is different but it may help.


I had to tell my class that a class mate had died earlier this year. Its the hardest thing I've had to do and really makes you realise how children rely on you to give them the most straight forward information.


The child in my class died after an operation so we had time to talk to the ED phyc. Here's what I was told to do, hope its helpful.


Gather all children together and sit with them on the carpet.

Tell them that unfortunately something has happened over the weekend, that ............ had died ( make sure you say died not gone to sleep etc)!

Give them a couple of mins to take that in.

Then think of memories about the person, had anyone been for tea, remember him picking daughter up at end of the day.....how might......be feeling?

Give them 10-20mins to either draw a picture for their friend or play quietly giving the others time.

Then get on with the day.


There are some story books that cover this sorry, I can't remember them at the moment


Oh and I expect you've already read the post 'Bereavement Leaflet' started by tinkerbell in curriculum and general issues. Sarahnev707 posted a really good link, I wish I'd known about it!!



Good luck

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probably not much help this time but 'Feather Pillows' by rose impey and robin bell corfield covers bereavement

When the grown-ups talk about Sarah's Grandma, they start to cry. But all Sarah's memories are happy ones. Then Sarah finds a tiny white feather which reminds her of one especially wonderful day she shared with Grandma, and she discovers that you can laugh and cry at the same time.


can be a bit long for the younger ones though


(had younger sibling die last year , luckily child and family coping well but she still talks about her sister , she is just 4 now)



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Thinking of you emma. Allow the children to ask what questions they need to and tell them the truth. I have witnessed the death of a child dealt with in a way described by annie, the children were FS1 and they coped well. The parents were also informed as a group.


Do you use a candle for collective worship of any kind. It might be good to establish a calm atmosphere in this way while you break the news.


Good luck and look after yourself too. Do not be afraid to show your emotions.

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Guest tinkerbell

My thoughts are with you Emma


Lots of good advice already given.I did send a note home with the children in the class to tell the parents what had happened so they would be prepared for any questions from their own children


Good luck Tinkerbellx

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A few years back I had the experiance of one of my Mums and two (of three children) being killed by their father

Staff and other childrens parents were stunned

We closed on the day following it happening, for staff to come to terms with it and to avoid the press (national and local)

We gathered the children together and told them ..... & ......&......, their Mummy, had died

Our children talked about the children and drew pictures for the third child who came back to us the following week

I think its important not to leave out other parents and the close relatives of the child /person who has died with out gossiping but in a pro-active way Hope this makes sense It feels a little muddled !

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All children deal with it differently my son was very upset and cried (his reception teacher was rather annoyed and said he was just doing it for attention) whereas my daughter informed everyone she met with the attitude of you know so don't ask any more!

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The mum of one of my little girls in Nursery died very suddenly 2 days after Christmas. We, as a Nursery, didn't have to deal with it straight away, as it was in the holiday, and her family came to see the headteacher before she started back at Nursery to talk about how they had explained it and how we could continue.


She is a very well adjusted little girl who now talks about her mummy being a star! When we sing 'Twinkle, twinkle' she just says very quietly to the nearest adult 'my mummy is a star'. For mothers day she made a card. Because her mummy is still very real in her memory. daddy put it on the windowsill with some of mummy's special things and so it could be seen. Just today I was doing finger painting on the tables in white paint and she drew a picture of an angel and simply said, 'my mummy is an angel!' My reply was 'She's a beautiful angel' and then she just went on to play happily.


I know it's difficult but if you can get to talk to the family about how they are handling it, it does help, especially if they are able to be as 'level headed' as our family were.


Children do take things far more in their stride than we adults do. They are very 'matter of fact'. It's often us with our problems about dealing with 'how to handle death' that can make things worse.


I do sympathise with your situation, though, and I will pray for you.

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We too we told that a mum of a little girl we care for died at the weekend.


I prepared myself I went to collect her from school she came running up to me and said do you know my mums dead, I just didnt know what to say she was so blunt and carried on talking about how much daddy is crying, everything I thought I would say i didnt it obviously hasnt sunk in with her yet, I feel devasted and really sad for her I suppose I expected her to be quite emotional.



I think i will go and search for the books you have all kindly named a good resource, I feel a bit bad that i wasnt prepared for this event.



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Hi, just to add to this, my children then aged 6 and 7 years old lost their dad two years ago very suddenly, we sat them down and told them that God needed their dad's help in heaven and that their dad would be watching over them (they never cried, which worried me at the time), it was two weeks before Christmas and their dad had brought them a small tree and decorations the day before, so we put up the tree in his memory. Which we have done the for last two years talking and remembering him, we talk about him if the children wish. This Christmas the school where my children go ask for each child to bring in a decoration for their tree for the school to keep, both my children took one in each off the tree that their dad had brought, so that their dad could watch the school play. I think adults find it harder than children. Children just need to be able to talk if they want to. Just be the same with this child as you were before and talk if they want to.

Sorry my first post was such a sad one but felt I had to reply, so hello to everyone.



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And hello to you too Sarah and thanks for making that lovely first post and your way of remembering. I think you are right, children are remarkably resilient, and adults find it so much harder to deal with than children as we worry so much about 'getting it right'


Emma I hope today went Ok for you. One thing I was talking with a colleague recently about was a child who recently lost her brother having a pink heart in class (she was about 6 I think). Whenever she felt overwhelmed by anything or just wanted to talk, cry, or remember, she showed the pink heart and was able to leave the room to go to one of the two people who had especially bonded with her. Apparently it worked very effectively, and for the first few weeks when she needed it a lot, the school made sure one of the two people was available. After a while, when another child lost her mum, she said 'I don't need my pink heart any more, Il give it to so and so'. And so she did. I thought it was a lovely idea.

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Welcome Sarah: thank you for such a moving post and for sharing such a personal experience.


Emma: I hope it all goes well for you at this difficult time - I know that you'll want to do the best you possibly can to support this family, and it can be so hard knowing what to do for the best. Good luck.



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