Elmo Takes to the Radio Waves to Help Kids Deal with Hurricane

Family Matters on 10.31.12
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While it is evident that there were millions of adults who were terrified as Hurricane Sandy barreled towards the east coast of the United States this week, worrying about both the safety of their loved ones and the safety of their property and belongings, there were also millions of children impacted by the storm. It’s not too often that children see their parents hunkering down or evacuating, and while we are frantically taking care of business it can be a really scary time for the kids, many of whom have never been in a hurricane and don’t know what to expect. But the folks at Sesame Street knew exactly what to do to alleviate kids’ fears, and that’s have Elmo talk to them about hurricanes.

Elmo and Sesame Street Workshop’s Rosemary Trulio joined Brian Lehrer on his WNYC radio show on Tuesday morning to talk to kids about the hurricane. Elmo discussed why he was scared and what types of questions he asked his parents while Trulio addressed the importance of empowering children to express their emotions and offer them ways they can help in the preparations and cleanup of the storm. Elmo also talked about how he had experienced a hurricane on Sesame Street previously.

Sesame Street created a special episode back in 2001 that featured the folks of Sesame Street preparing for a hurricane by taping windows, stocking up on water and food supplies, and bringing things inside that could blow away. It also offered some things that the kids can do while their inside during the storm like make wall shadows and tell stories, and in the aftermath when Big Bird’s nest was destroyed it showed how the community can come together to help re-build.

Putting the storm on their terms and hearing about it from someone they look up to helps kids handle their emotions through such an ordeal. What seems most obvious from both Elmo’s interview and the hurricane episode of Sesame Street is that it’s important that parents and caregivers let children know that it is ok to be scared, but that taking the proper precautions and finding support from your community will help you get through the storm and any of its after-effects. And it’s also important that adults stay as upbeat as possible. In an ideal situation, we should show our children the video ahead of the storm coming to help calm their fears, but if your child is still on edge after having been through the storm, hearing Elmo’s interview may be helpful in having them find some solace that things are going to be ok.

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