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  • Include the child in making a plan for the day of the death.  If they are at school, do they want someone to come to school to get them?  If so, is there a particular person they would like to come for them.  Or do they want to learn of the death only after they have arrived home at the end of the school day.
  • Do they want to spend time with the body before it is removed by the mortuary?  Do they want to do this alone or do they want someone else with them.   If yes, prepare them for what the body will look like.
  • Consult them on what they want their teachers and classmates to know.  Some children will say that they do not want others to know.  Gently explain to them that it is likely that classmates will find out in some other way, such as from a parent reading the obituary in the newspaper.  If they miss school for the funeral, classmates may ask why they were not in school.  This is an opportunity for them to learn about the support that can be provided by others.
  • Let them choose how they would like the classmates to learn of the death.  Elementary teachers may inform the whole class in their absence.  In this case, classmates can create cards of sympathy and support, teaching children how to support others through a sad time.   In some cases children want to be the ones to share the information about the death with the class.  For middle and high school age youth the news usually is shared in a less formal manner, such as social media and word of mouth.
  • Include them in the funeral planning and allow them to participate if they chose.