The videos are for both kids and their caregivers
There’s not many who dispute the amazingness of Sesame Street. It’s been a childhood mainstay for more than four decades for a reason — they speak to kids like no one else can. The show has taken on a variety of tough topics over the years and boiled them down to a child’s level and now, they’re using their platform to help kids who have been through traumatic experiences.
A new initiative launched by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit arm of the beloved TV show, offers a variety of videos for kids as well as materials for parents, providers and caregivers to help little ones deal with adverse events. Sadly, the release is timely, as our country reels from the impact of what’s now the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Talking to kids about the horrible things that happen in this world and helping them process is never easy, but Sesame Street is trying to help families deal with these difficult issues.
Topics include preparing for a hurricane or natural disaster, ways to cope with stress, how to feel safe, how to deal with anxiety, and many more. And in true Sesame Street fashion, the videos are accessible and adorable with all the characters most kids know and love, in language they can understand.
The familiar cast of Muppets demonstrates exercises to help kids calm down and feel safe. Unfortunately, learning to deal with childhood trauma is more important than we might think with the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health finding that almost half of all American kids under 18 have had at least one Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE).
ACEs can include emotional or physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional or physical neglect, domestic violence, substance abuse by someone in their home, and an incarcerated family member. ACEs put kids at risk for a number of issues throughout childhood and their adult lives including substance abuse and other risky health behaviors, chronic health conditions, and early death.
That’s why it’s crucial to give children the tools they need to process their experiences and begin to heal. And who better to help them than Elmo, Abby, Big Bird, and Cookie Monster? They even have The Count demonstrating his “count, breathe, relax” method for calming down.
All of the resources are available on the Sesame Street in Communities page and include videos and printables. Even the most well-meaning adult can find themselves at a loss when it comes to helping kids cope with something awful. No one wants to be in a position to need videos like this, but thankfully, Sesame Street has them if we do.