image credit-Sesame Workshop
Sesame Workshop has released a new set of resources, Family Caregiving, for military and other families dealing with the “new normal” of caring for an ill or injured family member. Resources are developed from solid evidence-based research.
“Coming home from a deployment with visible or invisible injuries is a huge challenge for any service member or veteran — especially those with young families,’ said Sherrie Westin in a news release. Westin is president of Social Impact and Philanthropy at Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street. “Even beyond the military community, the reality is that most of us will serve as caregivers at some point in our lives, she said. ‘With this initiative, we want every caregiving parent and child to know that they’re not alone, and that asking for help is always a brave thing to do.’” –Military.com
Each activity is fairly short, useful for busy parents who want to explore it before sharing it with their children (For parents looking for developmentally appropriate material, there is a search filter based on age ranges from 0-1, 2-3, and 4-6.)
Each topic, including Family Caregiving, gives parents additional related topics and activities to explore, which expand on what they’ve done in each topic area. The Family Caregiving page offers links to Traumatic Experiences and Offering Comfort topics, each with their own activities, Tell Me About It (an Interactive on engaging children in conversation) and an App, Breathe, Think, Do, which features a monster friend who needs to calm down. Children help the monster and learn the calming skills.
Navigating Family Caregiving resources:
Each resource on the page is called an “activity”, and most are meant to be used by children and parents together. A few, such as the articles, are meant for adults. Activities are shown with a large image and an icon and text that indicates the type of activity (video, interactive, printable, article).
There is a search tool to find activities by age, type, and length of time to spend on that activity. Users may also click on the activity image for a description.
When you click on an activity you are introduced to the “big idea”, or objective. For instance, the Stormy Days video’s Big Idea is “encourage children to talk about their feelings with caring adults”. There’s a short explanation of the activity with tips for using it for yourself or with your children.
Some highlights out of the many activities:
Caring for Brain Injuries Documentary-style video about Angie and how she, her husband and children work out the challenges resulting from her traumatic brain injury. Specific and describes helpful practices the family uses. Closed-captioned.
Interactives: online pages with a story outline and clickable areas that help create discussion options for parents and children doing the activity together. Children may also enjoy doing the activity by themselves once they know how to use it. Note: there may not be closed captioning for the animated characters’ speech or the audio prompts.
- Feelings Have Words: a self-paced “game” with photo images of children with various facial expressions. The activity description gives suggestions for how parents can use the activity with their children.
- Sunny, Cloudy, Stormy Days: Rosita and her mother give parents and kids the chance to describe emotions, identify a range of feelings when “Sunny, Cloudy or Stormy”, and identify activities which may enhance the emotions (Sunny) or help a child feel better (Cloudy and Stormy).
Printable pages for coloring and discussing:
- You Can Count on Me: Helping children identify and remember the many people that support the family
- Color Me Calm: designed to open conversations and for relaxation
- Complex Emotions: strategies to help children cope with complex emotions like feeling isolated, shocked, angry, tired, numb and overwhelmed. All of the strategies work for older children and adults too!
- Children’s Questions About Caregiving: Typical questions a child might ask about a family caregiving situation, and ideas for responding.
You can check out other resources from Sesame Workshop in these articles:
4 Short Videos to view and share-Elmo and the Vice Admiral (for professionals and families)