This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read my full disclaimer for more information.
Emergency Grief Kit
Today I wanted to share one of my most important counseling tools: My Emergency Grief Kit. You might be wondering what an Emergency Grief Kit is and why I feel like it’s sssssoooo important!!! Basically my Emergency Grief Kit is a bag/backpack with everything I need to help students with the loss of a loved one at school. If I get a call tomorrow morning that a student or teacher has died, then I need to be prepared. I won’t have time to go to work and gather all of my materials and plan. My Emergency Grief Kit is ready to go. I can set up a grief station in a school within minutes and train teachers on the spot. I’m ready to go!! You just never know when something tragic is going to happen so set aside an hour today to set up your Emergency Grief Kit. It’s easy and I’ve got most of the materials ready for you already!!
So what exactly do I put in my Emergency Grief Kit?
- Emergency Grief Binder (more on that below)
- Kleenex Boxes
- Classical/Background Music
- Blank Cards (I make mine out of scrapbook paper, it’s cheaper that way)
- Manila Folder for the Cards
- Notebook for Students to Sign-In
- Stuffed Animals
Some of the items are pretty self-explanatory. The Kleenex are for their tears and the stuffed animals are to comfort them. I use the puzzle and fidgets as an activity to do while we talk because some kids don’t like to look at you when talking about difficult topics. So give them something to focus on while they talk, it makes it easier for them.
I use the blank cards so the students can write letters to either the deceased or their loved ones. This is a great way to wrap up my conversation with a student. When I feel like they’re ready to go back to class, I ask if they’d like to finish by writing a letter. I leave them alone while they write the letter, which gives them some privacy and allows me to move on to the next student.
The notebook for students to sign-in is super important too! It helps the attendance clerk keep track of all of the kiddos but it also provides me with a list of kids that may need to have a follow up session.
The rest of my resources are kept in my Emergency Grief Binder:
- Teacher Powerpoint presentation
- Class Letter
- Teacher Handouts: When Grief Enters Your Classroom, Helping a Grieving Student: A Guide for Teachers (specifically pages 8-9, and pages 18-20)
- Coping with the Sudden Death of a Student Manual (page 48 good refresher)
- Student Activities: Goodbye Letter, Color Your Feelings, Self-Care Plan (page 51 and 71)
- Student/Classroom Speech
As you’re reading through some of these resources/items you may feel like they don’t apply to your age group but you should add them to your Emergency Grief Kit anyway. When another school in your community is going through a crisis, you need to go help! Even if you work with high school students and the elementary school has just lost a 2nd grader, go help!! Take your Emergency Grief Kit and go help!! Because when you’re school is in need, then they’ll return the favor. We can’t do it on our own so add the different age levels to your Emergency Grief Kit. You’ll be prepared to help not just your campus but you’ll be prepared to help any campus in need.