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Talking to your young child about a teacher strike

DENVER – Explaining a teacher strike to your child might not be easy.

Some younger children are having a hard time wondering when they will see their teachers again, according to parents who spoke to FOX31 Monday.

Parents say they’ve been talking to their kids. They’re trying to calm fears while using the strike as a teachable moment.

“This morning when we came, the teachers were striking,” one parent said. “[My son] definitely asked what was going on, and he was a little worried.”

Concerns are mounting over alternative lesson plans with substitute teachers. Parents say movies and worksheets seem to be the popular choices while others say they have had positive experiences with substitutes.

Denver child psychologist Dr. Sheryl Ziegler says parents should define what a strike is, but don't overshare for younger children. It’s important to avoid confusion. Also, tell children the strike is not their fault.

“There are kids who have trauma in their lives,” Ziegler explained. “There are kids who have unstable homes in DPS … when they hear chanting and [see] picketing … and people are crossing lines and there`s tensions-- I also really wonder about how many kids were triggered.”

Ziegler says it’s important to ask questions about children’s anxiety and/or curiosity. Answers to those questions can help parents realize how comfortable or uncomfortable their children might be with the ongoing strike.

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