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Hope and Healing: Family Caregiving
When a loved one needs extra support, it’s important to come together as a family.
For many years, colorful Sesame Street characters, like Elmo and Big Bird, have helped children learn while having fun. The Defense Department has drawn on these familiar friends to help children ages 2-6 through the milestones of relocations, deployments, transitions and more by creating Sesame Street for Military Families.
The initiative aims to address the ongoing needs of military children related to their experiences and transitions. The free multimedia website — with videos, games, tips, articles and more — is offered in both English and Spanish for children and parents. You can help your child gain resilience and have fun along the way. Here is a sampling of what you’ll find.
Learning tips and games for parents and kids
- Changes Big & Small Tip Sheet: These tips offer information for parents on building a sense of security during periods of transition and strategies for providing reassurance, such as establishing regular rituals.
- It’s An Adventure! In this video, Muppet friends Elmo and Rosita help military children to see change — starting a new school or moving into a new home — as an exciting adventure.
- New Friend Coupons: This downloadable coloring sheet makes meeting friends more fun. Children cut apart the coupons and give to their new classmates.
- Conversation starters: Getting your child to communicate about his or her feelings can take a little creativity. Download these instructions for a finger puppet show with conversation-provoking scene-starters.
Deployments and relocations
- Sesame Street’s Talk, Listen, Connect: Deployments, Homecomings, Changes: This bilingual multimedia outreach program is designed to support military families with children between the ages of 2 and 5 as they cope with the feelings, challenges and concerns experienced during different phases of deployment.
- Pre-Deployments Tip Sheet: This content gives parents guidance on how to plan and prepare for deployment, including suggestions on how to talk to your child about the changes and strategies for keeping the family connection strong.
- Dear Elmo Videos: Elmo covers the different emotions and concerns related to deployment in a fun and engaging video series, from Dear Elmo: Getting Ready to Dear Elmo: Coming Home.
- Additional Resources: If you need even more resources, you can check out this list of helpful links to sites, like Operation Homefront and Military Kids Connect.
- The Big Moving Adventure: With this app, children can create their own Muppet friend to keep them company and help them through the moving process.
Family health and wellness
- Racial Justice Resources for Military Families. Use games, videos, articles and other resources to start the discussion with children aged 2 to 6 about racism, practicing self-care and growing as upstanders.
- Sesame Street’s When Families Grieve: This DVD resource kit features Elmo, other Sesame Street Muppets and the courageous stories of families who have experienced the death of a parent. The bilingual kit includes a DVD, children’s storybook and guide for parents and caregivers.
- Grief: Sesame Street for Military Families helps families with explanations of situations, communicating and connecting as a family to deal with loss and ways to help families move forward. Videos include For Families: When Families Grieve, Big Feelings and more.
- Routines: Military children need routine even more than the average child. Explore resources for morning separation, sharing a meal, bedtime routines and more. Parents can access tip sheets that help with establishing routines to bring comfort to their children through everyday routines family members share.
- Self-Expression Videos: Elmo and friends teach children how to express themselves — through song, laughter, hugging, moving and talking — in this entertaining video series.
- Feeling Faces: Muppets Elmo, Abby and Oscar help children explore their feelings in a fun online card game and printables.
- Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame: This mobile app helps children learn how to calm down and solve everyday challenges thanks to a Sesame Street monster friend.
- Hope and Healing Together: When a loved one needs extra support, it can mean big adjustments for everyone in the family. But no matter the caregiving situation, embracing a sense of family togetherness will help.
- Long-term caregiving: Additional topics include talking about brain-related injuries, helping each other after an injury, dealing with sad and angry emotions, and more.
Sesame Street for Military Families is there for children with a parent in the military. The website celebrates the unique role of military children by offering them and their parents a wide range of resources, from engaging videos and fun apps to helpful tip sheets and articles. You can also listen to the Sesame Workshop and Month of the Military Child 2022 podcast.