People, including children, handle grief in different ways. Please keep a close eye on your son/daughter’s behavior for the next several days.  Losing a loved one, teacher or friend can sometimes cause changes to regular behavior. If you notice dramatic changes in your child’s eating and sleeping patterns or see excessive anger, sadness, acting out behavior or any other disturbing trends, please contact your school counselor or seek assistance from your physician, family mental health practitioner and/priest.

Each individual handles death differently. Variations in the process of grief are normal.  This website provides some helpful hints about how to support your children during this sad time.

Please call our school if you need further assistance (775-336-6013, Our school counselors and other counselors and community supports will also be available.

Tips for Helping Your Child Through a Death or Loss

  1. There is no right or wrong way to grieve a death or loss. Sometimes children cry, are angry or seem to show no emotion. All are normal reactions to death.  Adults model the feelings and conversations for children.
  2. Listen to your child, listen some more and listen again. Show your child you a care about what they think or say about the loss.
  3. Some children act younger than they are in response to a death. They may have behavior that you have not seen since they were much smaller.
  4. Children often bring up the death of another family member, friend or a pet. Allow those conversations.
  5. Children may ask the same questions over and over. Be patient, provide honest answers. Sometimes the honest answer is, “I don’t know.”
  6. Children can do a number of activities to help them cope with death
    1. Spend time together as a family.
    2. Activities with peers and adults
    3. Drawing, painting, clay or other artwork.
    4. Writing poems, letters/cards to the families of the deceased, writing about memories, sad memories as well as happy memories.
    5. Physical outdoor activities
    6. Time with pets
  7. Tell the child that the person died. Avoid telling your child that the person went away or just went to sleep. Death is hard for children to understand and they may assume the person will be back or be afraid to go to sleep themselves.
  8. Maintain routines and rituals at home. Keep things normal around the house.
  9. Know the signs of when your child needs professional help (severe acting out, depression, not able to eat, play or, sleep regularly, crying and not able to function, fears of death or safety of parent).
  10. Ask for assistance if you need it. The school is here to help.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

Nevada Coalition for Suicide Prevention
Janett Massolo 775-687-0847

Nevada Suicide Prevention Resource Center

Misty Vaughan Allen
Suicide Prevention Coordinator
Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health, Office of Suicide Prevention
9670 Gateway Drive, Suite 200
Reno, NV 89521United States
Phone:  (775) 443-7843

Richard Egan
Suicide Prevention Training and Outreach Facilitator
Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health, Office of Suicide Prevention
3811 West Charleston Blvd., Suite 210
Las Vegas, NV 89102 United States
Phone:  (702) 486-8225

Other Resources

Division of Child and Family Services

Children’s Cabinet Reno

Solace Tree   (775) 324-7723