Helping Families and Colleagues through Grief
When you take a look at the symptoms of grief, it is easy to see how grief will impact all areas of a person’s life. The symptoms of grief do not stop when a person walks into work. And because people move through grief at their own pace, the impact could be long-lasting.
Lack of sleep and confusion could lead to poor decision-making or inattentiveness. There is very little room in early learning environments for either outcome, so it is vital for program leaders to understand the impact of grief and become skilled at helping employees and families access the support that they need. Here is a resource that offers additional information.
One of the most important recommendations for helping someone who is grieving is to listen. Maybe they need to talk about how they are feeling or maybe telling a story about their loved one is comforting for them. Unfortunately, conversations about death can make us feel very uncomfortable. They can trigger feelings of grief in us that we are not prepared to experience in the workplace. In some cases, not knowing what to say can cause us to say something unintentionally dismissive. Ultimately, we don’t want to see other people in pain and want to fix it. Alas, there is little we can do to fix the situation and we are left with listening.
When talking with a person who is grieving, it is appropriate to offer your apology for the loss. However, it is recommended that you keep your personal or spiritual/religious beliefs about death to yourself.
Be sure to provide resources that colleagues and families can access. If the program experiences the loss of a teacher or child, consider offering company-sponsored counseling for anyone who wants to take advantage of the services.
Share information about support groups and hotlines that adults can access if they would like to reach out for additional support. Here is some additional information.
Hospitals and religious organizations within the community often provide grief support resources as you can see in the example here. There are also many resources available online.
Please Note: Much of what we have covered here has dealt with the death of a loved one. There are many experiences that could fall into the category of loss beyond the death of a loved one.
For the main article Grief and Loss, CLICK HERE
For the article Experiencing Grief, CLICK HERE
For the article Children’s Understanding of Loss and Grief, CLICK HERE
For the article Strategies to Support Children Who Have Experienced Loss, CLICK HERE