Mr. Hooper, Sesame, Rachel discussed on Morning Edition

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Street to help you answer those really tough questions together. They've created a new audio guide on parenting, it's part of NPR's big new series called life kit. Corey we should just say that you are not just a co-host of this podcast you and on your communists, who is your partner in. This are also parents right? Absolutely. I have two boys she has two girls. And honestly, this whole project came out of a really painful parenting moment, I had two years ago. My mother-in-law died fairly suddenly, and it was really hard on my boys. They asked a lot of questions about death for the first time, and I felt powerless. So as a reporter, I just start looking for resources and turns out sesame had put together a whole toolkit for families going through grief and death. I called them up. They invited me to New York. I did some interviews. I'm at Grover. And as I was leaving that day. I was about to get in the cab and it occurred to me, I just wanna talk with sesame about death. I had so many other parenting questions about race and scary stuff in the news and divorce and household chores. And I felt the same way. And so two years later here, we are so using your death episode as an example. I mean, what kind of things did you learn? Yeah. Well for this one. The really exciting thing is we got to use one of sesame is most famous episodes. You probably remember it. I know I did the death of Mr. Hooper do who ran the corner store the actor who played Mr. Hooper had died and the show decided to use this as a really important moment to help kids understand death. So there's this moment early on when big bird shows up. He's drawn a portrait of Mr. Hooper. He wants to give it to him. And he asks all the adults there. He says where is he big don't you? Remember, we told you? Oh. Mr. Hooper died. He's dead. I remember. Well, I'll give it to him when he comes back. Yeah. And Rachel this cut gets to one reason why it's so hard to talk about death with kids. Right. So armee, and I spoke with one of the experts at sesame her name is Rosemary, truly, oh, she's a developmental psychologist and senior vice president of education and research at sesame workshop, and she told us that a hospice social worker had once told her using a really interesting analogy the kids process this big stuff like the eat an apple they take a bite, maybe two bites. They put it down on the couch. Kick it on the floor more by exactly that's probably how they're going to experience death as well. So what that means for us as parents, Rachel is we need to be patient. Don't give kids more than they can handle at any one time and just accept that. This is not going to be one conversation right for the conversation itself can be tough. Absolutely. What did you learn about the words, you should use totally? So this was one of the biggest takeaways from me, you need to be clear, and you need to be concrete. So again, rose Marie from sesame. She told us one of the common mistakes that we make as grownups. And I know I've done it is we don't like to use the word died. So instead, we use euphemisms passed away. We're sorry for your loss. Went on a long journey. We put the doctor sleep. That's a really big one. And the reason for that is that if you're telling me now that the dog went to sleep in his not gonna wake up and died while I go to sleep every night. Am I going to die you go to sleep every night? Mommy and daddy. Are you gonna die? So it's really important to use the word dot and not just died. But also be really clear when you die your heart stops your body stops working. It's hard to think about saying that. Yeah. For me. But that's what they gotta name it. What did you learn about the grieving part of death? Yeah. I mean, obviously there are big emotions here. And we need to be honest about that kids take their cues from us and said the best thing we can do as parents is the model. Healthy grieving there's nothing wrong with crying in front of our kids and sesame really got to this in the Mr. hoop rep said one of the most powerful moments is when one of the grown-ups Bob cries in front of big bird. You'll never be the same around here with laughable. But you know, something. We can all be very happy that we had a chance to be with them. No. To love him a lot when he was here..

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