Resettling in a new place is hard, and you’ve had many difficult experiences already. It’s okay to feel sad or mad about what’s happened, and unsure about what’s to come—change and challenge may continue to be a part of your family’s story.
It’s important to remember that you are not alone. There are people and organizations to support you… including your friends from Sesame Street. Though the challenges you will face in your new home and community will vary depending on where you are, we are glad you’re here!
We’re here to help you recognize and build on your strengths, to learn new skills, and to help you and your children heal, cope, and thrive in the future. Our furry, friendly Muppets can help you talk with your young children and may even make very difficult conversations a little bit easier.
For now, let’s start just by saying hello. Explore these resources to practice saying hello and learn strategies to calm and comfort children.
Remember: As you explore these resources, remember that your safety, security, and comfort are your priorities. It’s okay to focus on just making sure you and your children feel safe and calm. In those moments, a deep breath or a quiet moment may be all you need (or, sometimes, all you can do). If you still feel stressed, it’s okay to take your time and come back when you’re ready.
In the coming weeks, months, and years, you and your children will have lots of opportunities to meet new people. And though the idea of starting again may feel daunting, most relationships begin with a simple “hello.”
Watch this warm welcome from Sesame Street friends. After watching, practice saying “hello” with children. Raise your arm and give a friendly wave. You might even practice introducing yourselves. You might say, “Hello.” “My name is _______.” “It’s nice to meet you.” “What’s your name?”
You might also talk with children about how they feel about meeting new people. Are they nervous or excited? Remind them that all their feelings are okay and that with practice, meeting new people can become something they look forward to.
As a grown-up, you may feel hesitant about introducing yourself to others, too. That’s okay—it’s important to be cautious. But you can protect your family while also benefiting from new people who are trustworthy and caring. Try to think about the potential of new relationships. Each person you meet—at your temporary home, at your child’s new school, or in a local place of worship—can be a link to important resources, can open doors to opportunities, or can become a good friend. A simple ‘hello’ can hold a lot of power.
During tough times and stressful situations, children may feel as if their world has been turned upside down. In some ways, it has. But as a caring grown-up, you can help children feel calmer.
When a situation is very stressful, first ensure that everyone is safe. Then, focus on calming your bodies. These strategies can help:
- Take a deep breath. Inhale through your nose and exhale out of your mouth, slowly, three to five times.
- Count to five. Counting can help children (and grown-ups) to shift their focus away from the stress of the situation and back to the present moment. Count slowly together. Older children can count to 10 or 15 or may even count backwards.
- Tighten and relax. Finally, you might encourage children to purposely tense up and relax different parts of their bodies. They might make their hands into fists then open them (and repeat). Or, they can raise their shoulders up toward their ears, then draw them down and back, standing tall (then repeat).
When your body is calm, or when the situation is less intense, you can…
Let children know that it’s okay to have many different feelings, and that they can always talk to a parent or another trusted grown-up about what they’re thinking and feeling. Saying “I get scared/worried sometimes too” can help them feel understood and reassure them that they’re not alone.
You can also remind children they are safe and cared for: “I know this is hard, but you are very brave. And people can be brave and scared at the same time. We’ll get through this together.” Comfort doesn’t always have to be offered with words: hold hands and hug often.
Stick to Routines
There’s always comfort in the familiar! Choosing at least one simple daily routine that children can look forward to, such as singing the same lullaby at night, can give them a sense of control.
If children seem distracted or struggle to complete daily tasks, it might help them to hear something like, “Let’s pretend to put your worry on the shelf while we [take a walk, read a bedtime story, and so on]. Then we’ll pick it up again.” Setting aside a worry or fear can help put it into perspective and give them time to relax and enjoy something they like.
Times of uncertainty can leave children feeling uncertain about themselves, too. You can help them remember—and celebrate—the things that make them special. Together with your child, make a list of positive statements. Invite them to choose one and repeat it throughout the day. They might say:
- I can do hard things.
- I am learning and growing every day.
- I am brave.
- I can make new friends.
- I am kind to others.
- I bring joy.
- When things change, I can be flexible.
- I am helpful.
- I am not alone.
- I am good at _____.
Welcome to Sesame Street Activity Pages
These printable activity pages can help young children (and adults!) find comfort while practicing new skills and “meeting” new friends from Sesame Street.
You might offer one or all of these printed pages to children and invite them to color, sitting quietly beside them to communicate without words that you’re there for them. Or you might use this as an opportunity for a quiet self-care moment. As children color, repeat a calming phrase to yourself, such as, “I’m okay.” “I’m still here.” “I am not alone.”
If you can’t print the pages, look at them together with your child on a screen. Talk about what you see.