Elmo and Rosita recording a video message for Elmo’s dad, Louie, while he’s away on a temporary duty assignment. | Source: Sesame Workshop

For a lot of the brave men and women in uniform, there is a kid who, while not in uniform, still serves with the bravery of saying goodbye to their guardian. In 2006, Elmo and friends sought to honor these kids with Sesame Street for Military Families, an online resource that addresses the need to help military kids process their experiences and transitions.

In a constant effort to bring support to military families, the program has launched new resources to help families preparing for temporary duty travel (TDY), also known as temporary duty assignment. Guided by the mantra “We’re in this together even when we’re apart, we stay connected in each other’s hearts”, the new resources provide a roadmap for navigating the big questions kids may have about TDYs.

The program includes a host of materials including three videos of Elmo and his family as his dad, Louie, prepares for a short-term National Guard Assignment. In the “Getting ready for TDY” video, Elmo sits down for a tough conversation with his parents about his dad’s abrupt departure. Kids can resonate with Elmo’s disappointment and work through their own feelings alongside their furry, red friend. With the “Staying in Touch” and “Coming Back” videos, kids can learn how to maintain communication with their parents, and even get a sense of excitement as they look forward to their parent’s return. In addition to the videos, there are also downloadable PDFs with coloring activities that help kids work through the emotions they experience.

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The Sesame Street for Military Families website also provides resources for parents of military families. Below the videos, there are three articles that help parents navigate how to comfort their kids and how to have a smooth transition upon return. There is also a downloadable PDF for parents that includes a response guide for a range of questions military kids might ask.

Whether a parent is headed off to training, schooling, a short-term humanitarian mission, or a special event, the new TDY resources aim to uplift and support military families as they work through these difficulties. Access the free resources in English or Spanish at sesamestreetformilitaryfamilies.org.