The popular children’s program, Sesame Street, is a family favorite in our household, (one of the only TV shows my son watches since we try to limit TV time as much as possible). My son is utterly obsessed with Elmo, (for what reason I have no idea). The reason I like to let him watch shows like Sesame Street and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is because they bring up a lot of good points, (i.e. confidence, how to handle big emotions like jealousy and anger, why we should love ourselves, and how to be kind to everyone). I think it’s important for kids to learn their letters and numbers and whatnot, (which Sesame Street definitely covers), but I think it’s of the utmost importance for them to learn life lessons and how to treat others.
As any parent knows, children learn the most by example, (especially when they are a toddler or preschool age). First of all no parent is perfect, (I would definitely be included in that). Every parent messes up or later wishes they handled a situation differently. Children are molded and shaped by their parents’ behavior. I have seen so many videos on the internet of mothers in a fist fight at the park with their young children over something as little as one of the children accidently bumping the other, making them fall over, (which, if you take your kid to the park, is a common occurrence). If children see their parents handling conflicts this way, don’t you think that they are going to grow up thinking that it is appropriate or affective to resolve conflicts in a violent manner?
Side note: I personally experienced this at the mall’s playground one day between two mothers, (it didn’t turn into a fist fight, but a lot of swear words and name calling was exchanged). Now not only were their own children cheering on the argument, but other people’s children were in the area and exposed to the hostility.
As parents, we expect our children to treat others kindly, not be violent, (i.e. hit, smack, spit, kick, or injure others in any way shape or form, including mean words), share, not steal, not do drugs, etc. Parents try to teach their children at an early age how to handle big emotions, deal with others not being so nice, (because no one is perfect), and how to be kind, (not only to other people, but to animals, the environment, and other people’s things), but if the parents aren’t trying to “practice what they preach,” and do the exact opposite from what they are telling their children, it’s a lot harder for children to act kindly as well. It’s OK to admit that we are wrong as parents when our children see us “not being perfect,” especially to our kids.
How do you get to Sesame Street, (a place where the people try to help our children understand why being kind is so important)? We, as parents, first have to try to be kind, giving, and caring ourselves. Maybe they should make Sesame Street for parents, but not just parents, but all adults. To get adults started, check out 8 Life Lessons Adults Need to Learn from Sesame Street:
- Love and believe in yourself, because you can be anything, no matter what you look like or who you are, (i.e. skin color, weight, sexual orientation, gender, etc.). Be proud to be who you are!
- Have empathy for others! If you don’t know what it means, Mark Ruffalo and Murray explain it very well.
- It’s OK to be embarrassed. It happens to everyone. Even Seth Rogan feels embarrassed sometimes, (and I guarantee Elmo does too sometimes).
- Be confident in yourself! Listen to Evan Lysacek and Elmo tell Stinky that he CAN tell everyone what confidence means.
- It’s OK to feel emotions when you break a habit! Elmo tells you how difficult it was to give up his pacifier and the emotions he felt during the process. The emotions seem vaguely familiar to those who are trying to quit smoking, drinking, and other hard-to-break habits.
- Name and recognize your emotions and learn healthy ways to cope with them! Let Kermit the Frog, (yes, he was on Sesame Street as a reporter before he was the star of The Muppets), school you on the difference between happy and sad.
- Play fair, share, and be kind to your friends, (not just to your friends, but EVERYONE)! Let Gwen Stefani, Elmo, Big Bird, Abby, Murray, Grover, and Cookie Monster school you on the subject!
- Belly breathe baby, (deal with your anger in a healthy way)! When you feel you “inner monster” coming out, before you yell, scream, or get violent, take Common and Colbie Caillat’s advice.
**This article was also published on MomQuery.com.