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Helping Children with Grief


Following the heartbreaking loss of a CCSD student to a house fire, additional emotional support has been made available for students and staff at Chillicothe Intermediate School. Please don't hesitate to reach out to request extra support for your student or yourself.

Leslie Hamman, MSW,LSW

Social Worker, Chillicothe City School District

740.775.4250 Ext. 16172


Understanding the 5 Stages of Grief

It is important to remember that every child grieves differently and at their own pace.

1. Shock

After the death of a loved one, your child may feel numb to the reality of their loss. Nothing in life helps children prepare for death. So, it is understandable that your child may have a difficult time absorbing what has happened. Numbed disbelief provides emotional protection from being overwhelmed all at once. 

2. Denial

Denial is a response to the shock or disbelief of the loss of a loved one. Avoidance is a common coping mechanism to avoid the reality of the loss. Life feels chaotic and scary so denying this new reality is a way to avoid pain. 

3. Anger

Frustration of this new reality can lead to anger. Lashing out at others is not an uncommon occurrence. Children in this stage of grief find themselves focusing on things like "Why me?" or "It's not fair!"

4. Depression

Deep sadness may begin to set in with your child as they begin to realize the magnitude of their loss. The reality of life going on without their loved one can feel overwhelming. Look for signs of withdrawal and isolation.

5. Acceptance

Physical symptoms lessen and deep sadness begins to shift. This stage is about accepting the reality of the loss and that it is permanent. Children in this stage can begin to look ahead to the future and anticipate some good times to come. Your child has gone through a life changing event. They may not be the same as before the loss, but there are feelings of hope and joy. 


Helpful Books and Websites

The Goodbye Book by Todd Parr

I Miss You: A First Look on Death by Pat Thomas

Invisible String by Patrice Karst

Death and Loss: Helping Children Manage Their Grief


Helpful Ideas to Show Love and Support

  • Follow a familiar routine
  • Be available to sit and listen
  • Answer questions honestly and directly
  • Take the lead from your child when talking about loss
  • Make a memory book of the loved one
  • Teach coping strategies
  • Let children know that all feelings are ok. Sadness, guilt, anger and even happiness are all normal. 


"Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light." - Albus Dumbledore


Download this information as a PDF.