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Sesame Street on Understanding Death


Like it or not (and who in their right mind would?), sometimes we have to talk to our kids about death.

This week, in the light of the Sandy Hook horror, it's a task millions of parents are grappling with. Thankfully, for those of us struggling to strike the right note, Big Bird and the rest of the Sesame Street team are here to help.

When I was a kid, those zany muppets used their powers to do stuff like convince me to eat veggies and count to five. But in more recent years, they've taken on tougher subjects, like easing kids' fears about natural disasters like hurricane Sandy. And their wise words can be a starting point in explaining this other, more awful Sandy too.

In this clip from the famous 1983 "Farewell Mr Hooper" episode, the gang explains Mr. Hooper's death to a heartbroken Big Bird, who has drawn a portrait of the shopkeeper. "Mr. Hooper is not coming back," Susan, tells Big Bird as tenderly as possible. "When people die, people don't come back." 

It may help you kick-start a meaningful conversation about life and its end in a loving but frank way.

Plus: Should You Tell Your Kids About the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting?