Characters at Sesame Street have something to say to military families: self-care isn’t just for civilians. Military Families spoke with Tara Wright, senior manager of content design at Sesame Workshop — the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, about new resources for military families.
How did the five new Sesame Street videos aimed toward military families come about?
Every year, we reach out to military families and see what they’re going through. And what we heard this last time was that COVID was such a challenge for them — that they experienced increased isolation, that deployments were longer and people were stuck where they were. We heard that emotional wellbeing was really at the top of the list of things they needed support with. So our team created five videos, available in English and Spanish, aimed at both kids and parents or caregivers, laying out practical strategies we can do alongside our kiddos.
What ages are these videos meant for?
They’re great for 2 to 5 years old and can be for a little older on tougher issues. The Muppets are talking to the parents, too, so it’s sort of peer-to-peer.
What do you love about these videos?
I think they’re so sweet and practical! Creating them has been especially meaningful to me as a Marine Corps Reserve wife and mom of three boys under five. There’s one video I really love called “Keeping It Simple.”
My husband’s away right now, and I can really relate to Elmo’s mom — you can see her have this moment of, “Oh my gosh, I can’t do one more thing!” So she makes a choice to order a pizza, which is so relatable. We can’t have pizza every night, but we can change our routine every now and then if it means spending more time with our kids or having more energy for other things that are also important.
What sets these new resources apart from others in the self-care sphere?
They’re approachable. It’s not some lofty ideal saying “Just take care of yourself!” It’s giving you something to do.
What is your hope for these new resources?
That they are widely shared. That military families see them. That caregivers who may be solo parenting or going through a time of transition, or maybe even loss, remember first that they’re not alone. That they can do simple actions that breathe life back into themselves. Taking these small steps can really make a difference, and I want these videos to give someone in a tough spot a little bit of encouragement.