‘Sesame Street’ addresses COVID-19, racism in town hall TV specials

Since 1969, “Sesame Street” has worked to be a positive, educational resource for young children. Guided by child development experts, the show often addresses topics like race, class, gender, religion and disabilities to teach children the values of diversity and inclusion. And when serious topics have made their way into public discourse, the show has never shied away from talking to children about these issues. This year, “Sesame Street” teamed up with CNN to address two important topics: the COVID-19 pandemic and racism.

“Sesame Street” hosted two ‘ABC’s of COVID-19’ town hall specials. Seeing news reports on the coronavirus pandemic can be scary for young children, so “Sesame Street” keeps the content child-centered and utilizes the familiar and friendly faces of Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Grover and others to help put children at ease.

The first ‘ABC’s of COVID-19’ town hall featured medical professionals explaining the pandemic to children, face masks and hand washing, dealing with the “big emotions” felt during the crisis, tips for staying healthy and more.

Watch the first ‘ABC’s of COVID-19’ town hall special:

“Sesame Street” returned for a second ‘ABC’s of COVID-19’ town hall special. This time, they gave advice on arranging play dates, going to the beach, staying active at home and how much COVID-19 information parents should share with their children.

Watch the second ‘ABC’s of COVID-19’ town hall special:

Its latest town hall “Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism” tackled the challenging topic of racism in our modern society. The town hall covered systemic racism, protesting and white privilege. While some parents may be uncomfortable talking to their children about race and racism, it’s an important conversation to have. Children as young as 3 months old can start recognizing race-based differences and can develop racial biases by 2 to 3 years of age, so it’s important to understand our responsibility to start teaching children the values of equity and fairness early in their lives.

You can watch the entire “Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism” town hall special here:

All content in this article, including any advice or commentary from Southwest Human Development staff and/or others, should be considered an opinion and is provided for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for medical or other professional advice, diagnosis or treatment.  Always seek the direct advice of your own trusted professional with any questions or concerns you may have regarding the child/ren in your care.  Southwest Human Development does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, products, procedures or other information that may be mentioned in this article.  You may contact Southwest Human Development’s Birth to Five Helpline at 1-877-705-KIDS (5437) to speak with one of our early childhood professionals for personalized assistance.  Birth to Five Helpline specialists are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.