Conversations: Students Struggling with Grief during the Holidays

Holidays can be a hard time for students who have experienced a loss. Following a death, divorce, or even after after moving, students can be blindsided by sadness or anger at the way things have changed. Mental Fills and School Counselor Stephanie have some great suggestions for helping students prepare and cope with grief during the holidays.

Make a Holiday Grief Plan

Mental Fills on TPT

The holidays commonly resurface old feelings and memories of loved ones lost. Although everyone’s healing has a different pace, acknowledging that it is normal to feel grief during the holidays will bring helpful preparation to those grieving.


Before the holidays approach, I help by creating a Holiday Grief Plan that includes the children’s expectations of the holidays, new traditions to incorporate the memory of their loved one, and coping skills to manage grief, typical holiday stress, and feelings from unmet needs. I have found it effective when children include families in the Holiday Grief Plan, both through the writing of the plan and the discussion.

– Mental Fills

Solution Focused Brief Counseling

The holiday season can be such a rough time for students who have gone or are going through the grief process. I make sure to check in with all my students who have dealt with grief issues during the months of November and December.  Any students who experienced a loss can start a solution-focused brief grief curriculum with me at any time during the school year. This SFBC grief curriculum, available in both and English and Spanish, includes follow-up activities for those students who need a check-in and refresher session during the holidays. 

School Counselor Stephanie

How do you support students who are struggling with grief during the holidays?


Make sure to also take care of yourself during the holiday months: Beating Holiday Stress and Burnout.



Students struggling with grief during the holidays need preparation and support. School counselors can support through individual sessions and careful planning.

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