Legendary US children’s TV show Sesame Street has produced a guide to divorce for its preschool audience.
A new section on the show’s website called Little Children, Big Challenges: Divorce includes a 13 minute sequence featuring the character Abby Cadabby, a fairy in training, talking about how her parents live in different houses.
The multimedia divorce kit includes themed videos and activities, as well as advice and tips for parents, all focused on explaining divorce and the difficult emotions it can stir up in young children.
This the second time the show has tackled the subject. In 1992, a special sequence was filmed featuring the elephant-like Mr Snuffleupagus talking to the iconic Big Bird about his parents’ imminent divorce. However this upset test audiences and was shelved.
According to Sesame Street writer Christine Ferraro, one crucial difference between 1992 and 2012 sequences is that in the latter the divorce has already happened, so it is “it is not a new, raw emotion.” In the 1992 sequence, by contrast, the divorce was happening in the present and Mr Snuffleupagus was obviously upset.
Lynn Chwatsky, the show’s vice president of outreach initiatives oversaw the creation of the divorce kit. She said: “These kids love and adore Abby. So to know that she’s going through something similar to them, something challenging, it’s like, Wow. It makes it okay to have a whole range of feelings.”