Lessons from Sesame Street for Parenting through Divorce
The Sesame Street website contains a toolkit called “Little People, Big Challenges: Divorce”, to help parents, children and extended family understand and cope with the changes that come with separation and divorce.
For parents, the toolkit contains tips for relieving stress and handling the emotional side of separation, and reminders that, despite the challenges posed by separation, it is often a step towards building a new life that also has positive aspects. The toolkit also offers informative pamphlets which provide parents with guidance on how to answer tough questions that children often ask when their family life is changing.
There are lots of great activities for parents and their children to complete together, with the goal of helping the children understand the situation. The toolkit includes activities, books, songs and videos to help young children understand divorce and the changes that may occur. The songs for children are happy, positive and reinforce tremendous love for the children, with the goal of reducing or managing feelings of fear, anger, confusion or sadness that might arise.
The Sesame Street toolkit stresses that despite the enormous changes that the child will face, there are many things that will stay the same, and it is important to make sure that daily routines are established to create stability and a sense of security for the child. The resources also include important information for extended family members and friends about how they can help as a support system.
The key message from Sesame Street is that children should be permitted to ask questions, to feel free to express their ‘big feelings’, and talk openly about their needs, wishes and concerns while their families are going through this transition. The toolkit also serves as a helpful reminder that, although every situation is different, children’s best interests should always prevail when parenting through separation.
To access the toolkit, click here.