A massive part of that, of course, is the coronavirus pandemic, which has disrupted life as we knew it for kids and their families, creating social and emotional challenges such as not being able to go to school, missing friends and being anxious about what comes next.
Since the end of April, Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind “Sesame Street, has been rolling out additional pandemic-related resources as part of its ongoing “Caring For Each Other” initiative to support families. These materials at SesameStreet.org/caring, built with monetary and collaborative support from Walgreens and AT&T, include videos, apps, instructional worksheets, printable activities and online games to help children express and manage their emotions as they and their families and caregivers stay healthy and adjust to a “for-now normal.”
Even more than that, these resources also give kids ways to recognize and celebrate the “Heroes in their Neighborhood” during COVID-19 – everyone from doctors and nurses, custodians and delivery workers to the employees at their local Walgreens, including pharmacists. You can sing along right here:
Since this is all about the kids, and with new Walgreens-supported resources set to launch June 17, Walgreens News went to one of the most recognizable 3-year-olds in the world, Elmo, for his unique perspective during the pandemic.
Elmo, what have you learned about how to stay safe and healthy right now?
“Elmo has learned a lot! Elmo’s mommy and daddy told Elmo that, right now, the best way to stay safe is to stay home. So Elmo is staying safe at home on Sesame Street with Elmo’s mommy and daddy and Elmo’s pet goldfish, Dorothy. Elmo also learned that it’s important to eat healthy foods and get enough sleep, so Elmo and Dorothy are doing that, too. Elmo loves apples and bananas, and Dorothy loves … mostly fish food. Oh, and Elmo washes his hands a lot! That’s a very important way to stay healthy!”
Do you sing “Happy Birthday” when you wash your hands? Do you ever sing something else?
“Elmo has a favorite song to sing every time Elmo washes his hands! It’s called ‘Washy Wash,’ and it goes like this: ‘Wash, washy wash, washy wash …’ Elmo can sing it for you later. It’s pretty catchy!”
Most of us are getting used to new routines. What do you and your family do differently now?
“Well, Elmo can’t go to school or see his friends right now, and sometimes that makes Elmo feel sad. But there are lots of ways to play and learn at home! Elmo reads books with his mommy every day, and Elmo’s daddy set up a cool video chat so Elmo can have playdates with all his friends. Elmo plays virtual freeze dance with Abby and Rosita, and has virtual snack time with Cookie Monster! It’s really fun.”
How can we use our imaginations to help us when we’re staying at home?
“Ooh, Elmo loves to use his imagination! Sometimes Elmo pretends he’s a famous builder. Elmo built a giant obstacle course in Elmo’s bedroom. And then Elmo pretended he was a famous athlete and Elmo went over and under and around and through the obstacle course he built!”
Right now, things can be confusing and a little bit scary for kids. What do you do if you ever feel scared or confused?
“Oh, that’s an easy one! Any time Elmo feels scared, he tells his mommy and daddy and they give Elmo big hugs. Elmo’s mommy and daddy give the BEST hugs – that always makes Elmo feel better. And Elmo’s daddy says that anytime Elmo feels sad or has questions about anything at all, Elmo should ALWAYS ask his mommy or daddy and they will help Elmo understand.”
Have you heard the term “essential worker”? What would you like to say to all the essential workers, including Walgreens pharmacy and store team members, who are helping to care for families?
“Elmo’s mommy told Elmo that those kind of workers are important helpers – nurses and doctors, and people who work in pharmacies, and mail carriers, and people like my friend Grover, who delivers groceries to our neighbors on Sesame Street. There are so many helpers keeping us safe and healthy, and Elmo wants to say a great big THANK YOU!”