Sesame Street for Military Families has launched a suite of new resources for families preparing for a Temporary Duty (TDY) whether the parent is headed off for training, schooling, a short-term humanitarian assistance mission or a special event.
Temporary duty is often both shorter and more frequent than longer-term deployments outside the continental United States, but they share some challenges, like disruption of family routines and the possibility for separation anxiety.
Technologies like video calls, mobile apps or family social media groups can make it easier for service members on temporary duty to reach their loved ones back home. Now, the new Sesame Street for Military Families digital resources offer a road map to help navigate TDYs.
“When a parent serves, the whole family serves – that’s something military kids can be proud of,” says Jeanette Betancourt, senior vice president of U.S. social impact, Sesame Workshop. “At Sesame Workshop, we appreciate that service and, with these new materials, we hope to help military families feel strong and connected whether they’re near or far. We want children to know they’re never alone – their families are there to support them and their Sesame Street pals are sharing similar experiences and emotions, too.”
Sesame Street’s own military kids, Elmo and Rosita, model the feelings and experiences children may encounter in videos, printable activities and articles that cover three main areas: preparing for TDY, staying connected while the parent is away and adjusting when the family reunites.
Articles for parents suggest activities and language to help small children understand the temporary nature and importance of their parent’s absence. Printable activities, including a coloring page and lyric sheet for the new song, “I’m With You,” serve as jumping-off points for family conversations before, during and after the TDY.
“TDYs are a regular part of life for all military families,” says Dr. Kelly Blasko, counseling psychologist and the lead for mobile health clinical integration, Defense Health Agency Connected Health Branch. “TDY-specific content from Sesame Street for Military Families was something military parents and subject matter experts were asking for, so we hope the new resources will be a welcome addition throughout the community. We are really excited to have worked with Sesame Workshop to create TDY materials to continue the mission of improving the well-being of military parents and their young children.”
The resources are free to families and providers and available in English and Spanish on Sesamestreetformilitaryfamilies.org.