Trauma is a big deal…but Big Bird’s got a big spirit, a big heart, and big dreams.

  1. 1

    Watch Comfy-Cozy Nest


    Big Bird’s struggling after a confusing and scary thing happened, and Alan notices his friend’s having a hard time before Big Bird even says a word. As you watch this video together with kids, notice how Alan acts. He:

    • is supportive, patient, comforting, and a good listener
    • lets Big Bird know that he’s seen, heard, and cared for

    The presence of a caring adult makes all the difference in the life of a child coping with the effects of trauma. Like Alan does in the video, you can communicate messages to kids such as:

    • You’re not alone. I’m here for you.
    • I’m listening to you. You matter.
    • What you say, feel, and think is important to me.
    • Let me help you put some words to your feelings.
    • Sometimes problems are too big to handle yourself. It’s smart to ask for help.
    • Let’s find a way to help you do or think about things you love.
    • Thank you for trusting me.
    • I’m interested in you and what’s happening inside you.
    • There are other adults who care for you, too.
    • It’s great to share a special time together.
  2. 2

    Read Comfy-Cozy Nest

    Launch Comfy-Cozy Nest Storybook

    In order to begin to heal, kids need to feel protected and safe. Kids can create a safe place, either physically or in their imaginations, to cope with their feelings.

    Share this story, in which Big Bird creates his own imaginary safe place. Pause the storybook to talk about what kids see and hear.

    Afterward, ask kids what their safe place might look like.

  3. 3

    Play Comfy-Cozy Nest

    Launch Comfy-Cozy Nest

    When Big Bird has big feelings, he creates a safe place in his imagination, a big nest filled with all his favorite things, like birdseed cookies and a picture of Granny Bird.

    With this interactive activity, kids can explore the concept of a safe place by helping Big Bird decorate his safe place.

    You might use this tool when kids need calming down, or any time at all. First, use the video to introduce the idea of a safe place—a place you can go in your imagination to feel safe and calm (all kids and adults can benefit from this strategy)!

    After you watch the video, explain that Big Birds needs to practice the strategy Alan taught him, and he’ll need kids’ help. Kids can:

    • take deep belly breaths to get ready
    • decide which music to listen to
    • decorate the nest
    • choose calming, focusing activities

    Help kids play the game. Afterward, ask, “What were some things you helped Big Bird do?” Do they remember any parts of Big Bird’s strategy? The more they play, and the more they watch the video and read the storybook, the more likely they are to remember the strategy later, when they might need it.

  4. 4

    Color Big Bird’s Nest

    Download printable

    After trauma, when our brains can be “hijacked” by fear, anxiety, or anger, a wordless activity like coloring can help us get “unstuck.” Coloring can reduce stress in both adults and kids, and this adult-child coloring page lets you sit quietly with kids and just be together.

    Coloring together can help you share important ideas without saying a word:

    • We can relax together.
    • We can have a good time together.
    • We can concentrate.
    • I am here with you.
    • I am listening.
    • I am interested in you.
    • We can share feelings.
    • We can make something beautiful, even when the world around us feels ugly.

    Kids can use crayons or markers. Colored pencils or thin-tipped markers work well for the detailed “adult” areas, but crayons will work too!

    • Sit side by side in a quiet space with a surface. You might put on music that you both like.
    • Kids color Big Bird and his nest, grown-ups color the more detailed background.
    • Remember there’s no right or wrong way to color; the goal is to sit and relax together. It’s okay to sit without talking, too!
    • Praise your child’s efforts and display the completed page in your home.

    Before, during, or after coloring, try saying:

    • “Big Bird feels cozy and safe in his nest. Where do you go to feel like that?”
    • “Would you like to have your very own nest? Why or why not?”
    • “If you had a nest, what would you do there? What would you want to keep with you there to feel calm and safe?”