Kids should feel safe and secure when they leave their homes for school each day, but in the wake of another school shooting, this time at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, children across the U.S. are looking to their parents and caregivers for answers.
Many grown-ups are still processing the killing of 19 kids and two teachers and feel powerless in knowing how to talk to their kids about school shootings, but a friend from their own childhoods wants to help.
Hours after news of the shooting broke, Sesame Street took to Twitter to share words and resources to help families navigate the troubling headlines. "Our thoughts are with our friends in Texas," the tweet read. "You are not alone."
Our thoughts are with our friends in Texas. You are not alone. ❤
For caregivers, it can be hard to help little ones understand and cope with the effects of violence, but limiting media exposure and making space for them to express big feelings are good places to start. pic.twitter.com/R3NytORHnE
— Sesame Street (@sesamestreet) May 25, 2022
Adults, many of whom grew up watching Sesame Street themselves, were quick to comment, sharing that knowing old friends like Big Bird and Elmo were there to help was a comfort.
"We've reached a point where Elmo has to talk to us about how to cope with this endless string of violence that affects us all," wrote one Twitter user.
"We all need Big Bird more than ever these days," wrote another, "especially in tragic times like this."
Video: Trauma expert shares how parents can talk to kids after Texas shooting
Others shared ways the Muppet-filled television show helped them handle crises in their own lives, as far back as in the ’70s and ’80s. "Sesame Street got me through some very rough patches as a child," said one. "I hate that they have to be the ones to take care of children when the elected officials won't. I’m glad they do though."
A sign of the times, the Sesame Street in Communities website has an entire page front dedicated to helping children and families affected by gun violence. From a video where Elmo and his dad discuss what violence is to printable resources about how kids can stay safe in an emergency, the site offers a multitude of resources for both children and their grown-ups.
Jeanette Betancourt is senior vice president of social impact at Sesame Workshop, and says the organization wanted to be a resource to parents at this time not only in the Uvalde community, but across the country.
"Our hearts are with families in Uvalde and all communities directly impacted by gun violence in their own neighborhoods," she tells Yahoo Life. "We understand how difficult it could be to have conversations with children about gun violence."
Betancourt's advice? "For little ones, having comfort, support and space to process big feelings, is a great place to start," she says. "Limiting media exposure and screen time is also recommended."
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