What to Get for Son's Preschool Teacher Who's Husband Just Died.

Updated on May 07, 2012
S.C. asks from Grand Prairie, TX
14 answers

My son's preschool teacher's husband died suddenly on Thursday. My heart is broken for her and her kids. What should I send to her for her loss? Flowers, a card or something else? Also, She will not be returning for the rest of the school year (2 more weeks), so should we still give her a teacher appreciation gift? Should we get the new teacher a teacher appreciation gift? She will only have taught my son for 2 weeks. His teacher has meant so much to our family, I want to do as much as possible. Thanks!

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Chicago on

So sorry to hear this, hopefully she will get strong and come back to teaching in the fall, I would get her either a gift card for a teacher"s supply store or a gift card for a massage, it will help with her comforting process. LL

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers


answers from Boston on

Don't do flowers - everyone does, and it's just something else that dies in a few days. A lot of mourners find this more distressing than comforting.

Don't feel the need to do something immediate other than send a card. Everyone in her family and among her close friends will step up to the plate, and her real trials will start when the funeral and immediate aftermath are over, and the reality of single parenting really sets in. I would get together with the other parents and organize something - have a coffee at your house to elicit suggestions. There may also be something listed in the obituary - "in lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to XYZ."

Something for the school might be nice - something permanent like a computer or some other electronic equipment (that won't be obsolete in a few years though), or some durable playground equipment. Planting a tree in a public place is a nice thing, but get a good nursery to give you advice and support so that the tree is well chosen and properly cared for so that it grows and flourishes.

Another thing is to set up a college fund for the kids. Put something in the local paper (whatever town she's from, and whatever town the school is in) soliciting donations, and work with a local bank to set it up properly.

There is a national on-line service called "Lotsa Helping Hands" that allows participants to volunteer for things needed by the family - could be meals, could be carpooling or sitting for the kids, could be anything. A couple of people serve as coordinators and work with the recipient family to determine what they need, then it all gets organized on line. That's much easier than asking this poor widow to organize everything. Everyone says "Let me know what I can do" and they mean it, but that puts the onus on the person who is suffering. LHH lets the family choose the dates they want meals (for example), lists what they like and don't like, and then people sign up for the day(s) they want, list the meal they're preparing, and so on. LHH then sends a reminder to participants even if they date they chose is 2 months away.

In general, when someone dies, there is a flurry of help and activity in the first few weeks, and then people drift away and get back to their own busy lives. That's when the real problems start for the grieving family - they are truly alone.

I wouldn't bother with a teacher appreciation gift because it will seem a little shallow and unnecessary to her, as if nothing ever happened. I'd take that money and put it towards a group purchase or memorial, whatever your group decides on. You can give the sub a nice card thanking her for stepping in under difficult circumstances and letting the children finish the year with some stability.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

My husband died suddenly leaving me with two small children. The kids were 22 months and 3 &1/2. I agree with a lot of the ladies. PLEASE do not send flowers! She has enough to deal with and to be honest watching flowers wilt and die was almost overwhelming. My house looked like a funeral parlor and all I could think of is … My husband died now I have dead plants! Money is a fantastic idea simply because when things happen so suddenly it takes a while for other benefits to kick in so she simply might need cash/gift cards for groceries or to pay a bill or two. God please don’t overdo the Im so sorry and you would not believe how many people trying to comfort me would tell me how hard it was to lose their grandmother or cousin ect. I know people don’t know what to say in situations like this but I wanted to scream at people so unless you yourself have lost your husband a smiple “we are here for you” and mean it goes a long way! She sounds like a well liked teacher so an appreciation gift would be great! Maybe offer to plant a tree in her yard? Something they can remember him by? Don’t forget the kids. My husbands company sent me flowers but they sent my children two cuddly teddy bears which they still have and cuddle. I am not sure how close you are outside of school but I will tell you one thing I appreciated was a few months after his death a family we knew came over and had hosted a BBQ for us so that the kids could play and I had some adults to talk to. The reality is that her life cant stop to mourn like you think. The kids need to laugh and life needs to keep moving. Just remember right now she is more then likely overwhelmed so offering to babysit or be a sounding board for her is great but she likely has a ton of people supporting her and helping out. Its after he is buried and a few months go by that she is going to need the support. There were nights when I would put the kids to bed and sit down and just cry. It was nice to know I had people to call but it was even better when I would have someone who would just call and say hey how are ya!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

This year in my school building, a teacher suddenly lost her husband (age 33). They have two small children. We all pitched in and bought diapers, wipes, formula, and gave cash. We set up a meal volunteer list so she wouldn't have to even think about cooking.

Don't send flowers. Send something she could use, like a gift card to a restaurant. Or, bring her a home cooked meal. Nothing can replace what she's lost, but a little something can help her in this time of overwhelming grief.

As for a teacher appreciation gift, whenever you get her something for her loss, give a teacher card at that time. For the new teacher, you don't need to get her anything, but if you feel compelled, something small would be best.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I saw a link that gave some helpful advice.

Thinking short term and long term...
Short term, imagine everything you wouldn't want to have to run to the store for during this time of crisis and package those things up (paper products, stamps, food and food prep products, etc).
Long term, a memorial to have at the school would be nice. A family member of mine was "remembered" at her work place with a little "quiet zone", including a bench, fountain, flowers and plants, rock garden. It just took up a small space but is very sweet to know it is there and that people still benefit from her life, even in her death.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Several possibilities..... have you talked to other class parents?

If there is a memorial set up, you can always donate to something like that.

Depending on where your preschool is located, maybe the class can go together and plant a tree on the playground?

Is there some piece of equipment/school wishlist you could donate to in her honor/his memory?

Something that is lasting is always nice.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

How incredibly awful. So sad for that family.

Diane gave good advice. I do encourage to get something for her classroom or the school in honor of her husband, like a computer or set of reference books for the library or some sports equipment for gym time. I would contact all the classroom parents and teachers of the school but not other parents in other classes (just thinking out loud here).

The new teacher will deserve at least a thank you card.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Yes, you should still give her a teacher appreciation gift if you have one. It is not necessary to give one to a two week sub. I would suggest sending the bereaved teacher a supermarket gift card or gift card to a local restaurant that delivers.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

My initial response to this is that a nice card would mean the world to her. I have read many posts from teachers who have said that teacher gifts are okay sometimes, but mostly they just want to know that they are appreciated. Unless you hear of something that she really needs, I would give a simple, but thoughtful card. As for the new teacher, maybe you could have your son draw her a picture, but that's probably as far as I would go. I think it's great that you are even considering this and trying to do something thoughtful. Good luck to you!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

i would get a small TA gift for both teachers. as far as the widowed teacher, if finances allow, get her a nice card with cash/check - she is likely going to have a great deal of sudden "final" expenses, as well as trying to continue life without his financial contributions.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Please make sure you do a teacher appreciation gift. If she has meant so much to your family, then let her know. If you would like, maybe allow some time to pass before you give her the gift. It may be something to cheer her up after some time has passed.
For the loss of her husband, send a card and maybe do something for her kids. You might also give a gift card for a fast food place as she may not want to cook or necessarily sit at a restaurant. Ask the school how she is doing and what she needs. That may be the most helpful.
The 2 week sub does not need anything. If you do feel compelled, just get her a $5 Sonic card or some lotion or something. However, it really is not necessary.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I was a receptionist for many years, and always in charge of sympathy, as well as other gifts....

My one motto is: "Food for the living, flowers for the dead."

So I would send food to her house, if you have the address, otherwise, you can make a donation in her husband's name to an appropriate charity (usually related to the cause of death) and have a recognition card sent by the charity to her at the school address.



answers from San Francisco on

Hi S.,

I agree with Melissa and be sure you attend the service/memorial if it is an open event.

This kind of help takes some good organizing amoung the parents who wish to participate.



answers from Phoenix on

I agree with a mice card. Mid you want to send something...a nice fruit and chocoate basket is great. They can be used to feed visitors! And it's a great snack when it's hard to get to the grocery store.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions