By Katie Lange
DoD News, Defense Media Activity
It can be tough for young children to learn to cope with the difficulties of military life. Relocations, deployments and other transitions mean a lot of changes that can be hard for anyone, let alone preschoolers.
But a new Sesame Workshop website that was developed with the help of the Department of Defense can help parents work with their kids through those tough times.
“There are tools for parents. There are videos. There are also links to really wonderful apps related to strategies for families,” said Rocio Galarza, the assistant vice president of Sesame Workshop.
There’s a problem-solving app on the site called “Breathe, Think, Do,” as well as one that helps children with relocation called “The Big Move Adventure.”
“What we really bring to it is a way of talking to children to address some of these issues in an age-appropriate way,” Galarza said.
A lot of the site is geared specifically toward bringing out self-expression in children. For instance, there’s a part of the site where kids can create art with virtual paint and stickers that can help them express their feelings and thoughts. There’s also a place for them to create music by putting together beats and vocals.
The site also offers downloadable materials, which parents can print and give to their kids to draw how they’re feeling.
“It’s for parents to find new ways to keep that communication going,” Galarza said. “When things are changing so much, sometimes you just need more ideas on how to explore what the kids are feeling.”
Two of the biggest issues that parents ask about are relocation and deployments, Galarza said. The website offers tips on how to break the news to kids, how to prepare them and then how to settle in once the move or deployment has happened.
Helping military families has been a big focus of Sesame Workshop because of all of the sacrifices they make.
“When a parent is deployed, the whole family is deployed. When a parent is transitioning, the whole family is transitioning. There are needs of military families that need to be met,” Galarza said. “We really support these families that are giving a service to all of us. So for us, it’s really part of our mission of helping children grow stronger, smarter and kinder.”
The Sesame Street for Military Families website also has an app under the same name that’s available for Apple and Android users. That way, families can have access to the information and games anywhere they go.
Sesame Workshop products for military families are also available at MilitaryOneSource.mil.
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