Children offering other children support to cope with grief

A brother (Year 4) and his sister (Year 6) were referred due to a recent family bereavement. Both children were struggling after the recent death of their grandad whom they were very close to due to dad not being around. Mum reported that the children were in shock and would not talk about their emotions and feelings. The school explained that the children are great in school but struggling with engagement.


In the initial meeting with the family mum was very keen for the children to have someone else to talk to, both children’s moods were presenting differently but both engaged in activities and were happy to be seen in school.

Work was completed in one-to-one sessions around managing and expressing emotions. The children engaged in art and crafts activities aimed at identifying emotions and remembering their grandad such as decorating plant pots with memories and what their grandad liked. This gave the children a chance to reflect on the positive memories but also give them time to miss and mourn him.

Both children attended the Zone West summer play scheme giving them a way to focus their feelings into sport, crafts, cooking and games as well as building resilience and confidence. During the play scheme, the children were taking part in an arts session decorating rocks, the oldest asked if they could make one for their grandad to put at his grave as well as making one for their great grandma who was also dying. The oldest one encouraged his younger sister to also decorate the rocks, providing support for his sister as she was upset that day.

In September, both children seemed more positive, were able to talk about their grandad and great grandma and give support to their mum who was struggling with her grandma dying. The final bit of work the children completed was a leaflet that they made together for other children about how to cope with someone dying.

This leaflet included activities for children that can help. The children were excited that this leaflet could also help other children. They wrote a letter to go with the leaflet that could be sent to schools, the aim of the project was made by children for children. The leaflets were sent out to schools across the Inner West for practitioners to use with children in schools.