Dealing with change and loss

Change is a part of our lives. Changes often make our lives happier and better – but sometimes they don’t. It helps to have strategies and support to deal with these times.

What are talking about?

Losses and changes can go together (like when we change schools we may lose some friends but we’ll make new ones). Sometimes they’re big, sometimes small. We usually deal easily with small losses (like losing a pen, or not passing a test); and also with changes that are small (switching teams), expected (growing up), or happy (a new family member).

What might it feel like?

Big changes or losses can make us feel a lot of different emotions. We might feel:

Angry               Sad                  Scared             Frustrated       Relieved          Shocked

Lonely              Tired                Sorry                Nervous           Confused         Distracted      

Sick                  Ashamed         Guilty               Responsible     Excited            Disbelieving

How can I deal with what I’m feeling?

Look for the good or the growth. Try to see the change as opening the door on a host of opportunities and adventures: like seeing a different part of the country or world, making a fresh start, the chance to make new friends, or the chance to try something new.

Talking. Sometimes we can feel guilty or responsible for something (like when parents split up) that isn’t our fault or responsibility. Talking to someone can help us realise that. If we’re feeling confused or overwhelmed, it helps to talk or ask questions about what’s happening.

Sharing feelings. This is another way to deal with feelings like confusion, fear, worry, and anger. If someone empathises with us, it can help us realise that we’re not alone in facing this situation. It can also help put things in perspective if we’re over-reacting.

Draw on our deep pool of resilience . Loss and change (perhaps after an accident) can dent our confidence and self-esteem. We need to remember that we are all strong and can overcome set-backs if we hang in there… Nothing lasts forever, including feeling this way.

Time for self-love. It’s perfectly normal to feel upset for a while after a big loss or change – especially if someone dies. Think of it like recovering from a big injury: we’ll be sensitive, need some quiet time to heal, and should practise some self-love to get us through.

Find a healthy distraction. It might be exercise, music, dance, reading … cooking. Some time out helps our minds and bodies stay strong enough to deal with whatever happens.

Messages and memories. Moving away doesn’t mean we can’t stay in touch with friends or family via calls, visits, games or online chat. Photos can also help us remember people and places. And sharing memories of someone who’s died can be comforting at times.

Hard times

Some changes or losses can be particularly hard to deal with:

  • Moving away from our school, home or country
  • Our home being destroyed by fire, flood or earthquake
  • Having something precious stolen from us
  • Big changes in health, perhaps from an accident or sickness
  • Lifestyle changes, perhaps after a someone loses a job or moves out
  • When a pet, friend or family member dies and we feel grief (sadness) over their loss

There is no shame or weakness in asking for time, help or support to get through them.

There is always someone or something that can help us get through. Find them.


Women’s and Children’s Health Network, 11 September 2017. “Changing Schools”. Retrieved from: 20 December 2017.

Women’s and Children’s Health Network, 17 July 2017. “Coping with Change – Loss and Grief”. Retrieved from: 18 December 2017.

Women’s and Children’s Health Network, 18 September 2017. “When Parents Split Up”. Retrieved from: 19 December 2017.

Useful links

“What is Resilience?”, “Grief, Loss and Change”, “What is a Growth Mindset?”, “Loving Ourselves”, “What is Empathy?”and “How can I Make Friends?” [HO7] Life Education factsheets.


Skylight[HO8] .org. Retrieved from:

What’s Up?

1. Who is the main person or group of people in this news article?

2. What was the key event from the news article?

3. Where did this event take place?

4. When did this event take place?

1. Find a quote from the main person in this news article?

2. In your own words describe what happened in this news article.

3. Find out where this event took place and include some information about this place.

4. Tell us when this event happened and explain what might happen in the future.

5. Explain in your own words why this event took place.

Current Events Web
Find the Who, What, Where, When, How and Why in the article to complete this worksheet.

I Think Because
Share what you think about the article and explain why.

My Questions
Write a question map about questions that you have after reading the article.

News Review
Give the news article you have read a review

Write what you KNOW about the topic in the article, what you would LIKE to find out and then what you have LEARNT.

Newspaper Bingo
Play newspaper bingo. Find a number of different articles to complete the grid.

Questions and Answers
Write a set of questions and then their answers after reading the article.

The Big Idea
Find the big idea by highlighting the 5 W’s and 1 H. then select 25 of key words associated with the article.

Word Investigation
Vocabulary exercise where students find key words within the article.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments



Would love your thoughts, please comment.x