Watch the video together with children, noticing that each Sesame Street friend has a comfort item. While shelters have different policies on limiting the number of belongings families bring (and children may lose their comfort items during frequent moves), stuffed animals and blankets can build a sense of security and help children feel soothed during tough, unstable times.

This is true for children staying in motels or with other people, too. (For children who are very mobile or whose living situation does not allow them to bring many items, you might offer a place where special items can stay (such as cubbies or lockers). Or, comfort can come from an imagination activity like Comfy Cozy Nest, in which Big Bird imagines his perfect safe place.

Ask children about their comfort items, if they have one. How long have they had them? What do they love about them? Do they have names? (If not, you might help children think of one.) Tell children they can talk to their comfort item when they are scared, mad, or sad—or anytime!

If children don’t already have a comfort item, if possible, provide them with one. If they can, parents might consider giving children a piece of their clothing (as the smell and feel may remind children of them), to help them feel safe when they’re apart. Favorite things, like a photo of a loved one, can also be comfort items. Children might sleep with, hug, hold, rub, “take care of,” or talk to their comfort items.