PORTLAND -- As Portland teachers prepare to hit the picket lines, many parents struggle with how to explain the strike to their children.

A teachers strike can be confusing for kids. Their routine may be disrupted and their teachers could be temporarily replaced.

I'm kind of sad that I won't see my teacher, said Isley Tomlinson, a 3rd grader at Richmond Elementary.

A family counselor said it is important for parents to listen to their child's concerns.

Really try and get at where your kids are coming from. Is it a fear that their teacher isn't coming back? Is it a sadness that they aren't going to get to go to school and they love school and they miss it? said Yshai Boussi of Portland Family Counseling.

The family counselor said parents need to explain what a strike is in developmentally appropriate ways.

Frame it as the adults needed to take a break until they can agree and come up with a solution, she said.

Here are a couple other tips for parents:

  • Make sure kids understand their teachers miss them and love them.
  • Help students understand their teachers will be coming back.
  • Explain that this is not your child's fault. They didn't do anything wrong.
  • Remind children their teachers and administrators are not trying to hurt them.
  • Explain what changes your child might see in their daily routine.
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