As more and more children are impacted by divorce, it becomes even more important for trusted sources to actively engage with this societal issue and provide helpful resources for parents to support their children. That is why I am so excited that none other than Sesame Street, probably the most well-researched children’s show ever produced, has tackled the issue of discussing divorce with preschoolers. Just last month, Sesame Street released a wonderful series of videos that provides both information and comfort for preschoolers whose parents are getting divorced.
I highly recommend this tool kit, which includes the videos as well as the associated e-book (“Two-Hug Day”) and a coloring book for children, for clients/parents who are looking for a reassuring way to discuss their divorce with their younger children. Each of the short videos addresses a different aspect of divorce and/or what a child might be feeling in a way that is very accessible for young ones (in the initial video Abby Cadabby draws pictures of two different houses and explains that “this is the one where I live with my mommy and this is the one where I live with my daddy.”) Because of the way that Sesame Street approaches the topic (after two years of research and work with experts in the field), divorce comes across as something less scary and uncertain than it otherwise might. The brief video series manages to:
- Help Children Work Through Their Feelings – there is even a specific video where Gordon and Abby sing a song about all the different “Big Feelings” that Abby is experiencing (as well as another video where Gordon explains that the divorce is not her fault).
- Normalizes Divorce – if this can happen to Abby then this must just be something that some kids go through. And if other kids are dealing with it then maybe it won’t be such an overwhelming, life-will-never-be-the-same change as it might feel like right now.
- Provide an Instillation of Hope – because Abby’s parents divorced sometime in the past (we don’t know exactly when) and she seems to be doing fine, she provides young children with the hope that they can get through this often unsettling process.
These themes and so many others are important to convey when speaking with children about divorce (for more detail about how to approach this conversation please see my Telling the Children handout). There is also a small, but growing body of books and websites for professionals, parents and children including:
Children – Book: “It’s Not Your Fault, Koko Bear”
Parents – Book: “Mom’s House, Dad’s House”
Check out the Divorce Resources page of my website for additional books and websites. And for more information on the Sesame Street project please see these resources: