Elmo has a supportive and loving adult like his dad to help him gain the skills to cope with everyday challenges and significant life transitions, as part of Sesame Workshop’s continuing community engagement initiative for flexibility amongst military, veteran and general public families: “Small Children, Huge Challenges.” (© 2013 Sesame Workshop. All rights modest.)
The store technician at the Fort George G. Meade, Md., Post Store Appropriate, greeted mothers and their children as they came into the main room of the building. Chairs were pushed hostile to the wall for parents to sit on while children played on a brightly colored area rug while they waited for a unique edition of Report Time.
Col. Brian P. Foley, Fort Meade’s stronghold commander, joined the children for report time on April 17 and read two books to the enthusiastic consultation. The children laughed and counted by the side of during Foley’s reading of “Count the Monkeys” while their mothers looked on.
Families were invited to watch a unique screening of Sesame Workshop’s “Small Children, Huge Challenges,” after the readings. The video is meant to teach children and their parents flexibility techniques, and is part of a complete toolkit, which includes a guidebook for parents, and access to a flexibility app, “Breathe. Reckon. Do,” for smartphones and drug.
“Our motto here is when the parent deploys, the whole family deploys,” Lynn Chwatsky, vice president of community and family engagement at Sesame Workshop, said. “We believe that there is a service limb, but the whole family serves.”
Chwatsky is in charge of overseeing the Workshop’s military family initiative project and community engagement, identifying a community and addressing its unmet needs with media and other resources starring “Sesame Street” Muppets.
The purpose of the LCBC toolkit is to encourage children to talk in this area or express their feelings, and show how parents can engage in a dialogue with their kids during hard times, like during a long separation, Chwatsky clarified.
Col. Brian P. Foley, stronghold commander, Fort George G. Meade, Md., reads “Count the Monkeys” to a assemble of children during a unique edition of report time at the base store appropriate, April 17, 2014. (DOD photo by Jacqueline M. Hames)
“We realize that when we are talking to young children and school-aged children, we know that you can’t just talk to these children, you have to talk to the adults in their lives. And the adults — that’s their circle of care — they can be their parents, those can be caregivers, and caregivers come in innumerable forms as we know, those are teachers, those are, again, providers … but when we speak to the kids, we are really language sort of two-fold, to the kids and to the adults in their lives,” she said.
Children filtered into another room when Foley refined reading, closely followed by their mothers. A few of the younger kids gathered on the stump directly in front of the television screen and stared, enraptured, as the video started to play.
The video, starring Elmo, shows children how to react to the possibility of a long separation, how to deal with frustration, sibling rivalry, and learning and persistence. The accompanying booklet for parents and caregivers outlines ways for adults to introduce new strategies for hard situations, adding to the video with topics like production with aggressive actions and moving.
These basic tenants of flexibility help teach children self-regulation, Chwatsky said. “We are giving them those skills and tools to get through those moments, and then hopefully the skills that they develop to get through those moments will then help them through life, through some of life’s simpler (and) more hard challenges,” she added.
Emily Tower, married to Maj. Daniel Tower, plotting the video was especially appropriate because her husband is leaving for school in a few weeks. Their 3-year-ancient, Allison, liked the video.
“We learned a excellent word, ‘strategy,’ didn’t we?” Tower questioned her daughter after the video. “We can come up with some strategies to survive the summer.”
Tower said this is Allison’s second long separation from her father, but she doesn’t quite be with you what will take house with her dad leaves. The video encourages families to come up with amusing ways of adage goodbye and emphasizes that the caregiver will restore, which will be one of Tower’s summer strategies.
“We (can) say amusing terms like, what did they say, ‘bye-bye mashed potato or something?” she questioned.
“Yes,” Allison answered, smiling.
Chwatsky said it’s not just children who benefit from the program.
“We’re seeing these adults benefitting from this because if you, as an adult, are empowered with tools you help to build resiliency in your outcome. It’s really building your flexibility too, meaningful you have the tools to help children,” she said.
Danette Simmons, who was there with her son Conner, 5, was reminded of how to help her children during hard times. “Instead of just adage ‘bye’ and then out the door, you
Families watch the Sesame Workshop video on flexibility, “Small Children, Huge Challenges,” during a unique edition of report time at the Fort Meade Post Store Appropriate, April 17, 2014. (DOD photo by Jacqueline M. Hames)
know, take time and then spend a small more time talking in this area (the situation,)” Simmons said.
Conner, whose dad is Sgt. 1st Class Robert Simmons, said the video was excellent before growing too shy to say anything else.
One of the eldest children at the event, Jameson Holyoak, loved the video as well. He believes what he learned will make possible him to help his mother, Rebecca, with his younger brother when their dad leaves for work. Calvin gets sad when his father, Senior Airman Michael Holyoak, leaves for the night shift.
“These kids are serving, too,” Chwatsky said. “These flexibility skills are going to help them through all. It’s going to help them through these small everyday things that we were talking in this area, but it is also going to help with the larger things, like when a parent deploys.”
Chwatsky emphasized that the toolkit is available across multimedia platforms, and flexibility videos are posted on the Workshop website and YouTube. The program is also available in Spanish.
“Our children are our prospect, our Soldiers’ children are our prospect leaders of our military and our Army, and we want to help them and get them as prepared for life as possible,” she said.