"Sesame Street" might be full of "sunny days" and "friendly neighbors," but that hasn't stopped the people behind the beloved kids show from tackling dark and often difficult topics -- like divorce -- head-on.
On Tuesday, Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit that operates "Sesame Street," launched "Little Children, Big Challenges: Divorce" -- a set of free resources offered online for families coping with divorce. The tools are designed to help kids between the ages of 2 and 8 deal with and understand their parents' divorces, and help parents talk about divorce with their children in an age-appropriate way.
As part of the initiative, a 13-minute segment will appear online that features popular puppets such as Elmo and Abby Cadabby (see above for a short clip). The segment will not air on TV.
In one scene, Abby Cadabby sits down with friends Elmo and Rosita to draw pictures of their homes. Abby Cadabby draws two pictures -- one of her at her mom's house and another of her at her dad's house. When Elmo asks why she doesn't live with both of her parents, Abby Cadabby explains (with the help of Sesame Street resident Gordon) that her parents divorced after having "some grown-up problems, problems they couldn't fix... but they both said they still love [her] very much."
“We want kids to understand that they’re not alone, and that it’s not their fault," Chwatsky 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 OK to have a whole range of feelings.”
The "Little Children, Big Challenges: Divorce" online initiative also includes a children's book, a mobile app, a guidebook for parents, as well as digital tip sheets and webinars.
"I am so thrilled that an institution like Sesame Street is taking on divorce because now I have the right tools, expertise and characters my kids can relate to about divorce," Huffpost blogger Denise Albert told The Huffington Post. (Check out her blog post about "Little Children, Big Challenges: Divorce" here).
Watch the video above for more on Sesame Workshop's divorce outreach program. Then, click through the slides below to see eight drawings created by children of divorce who participated in Kids' Turn -- a Bay Area divorce education program.