New resources to help children and families deal with grief and loss
The Sector > Provider > General News > New resources to help children and families deal with grief and loss

New resources to help children and families deal with grief and loss

by Freya Lucas

November 16, 2023

The Sesame Workshop has released new content to help children and families to process grief and loss in support of Children’s Grief Awareness month, which runs throughout November. 


New videos, a storybook, a digital interactive game, articles, and printable resources have been created, made possible by The New York Life Foundation.


The resources will be useful for those in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector in Australia, given that one in 20 Australian children will experience the death of their parent prior to 18 years of age, and many more children will experience the death of another loved one. 


Close family bereavement is amongst the most traumatic experiences for children, and can have profound and lifelong mental and social impacts. 


Research shows that childhood bereavement causes disruptions in relational, academic, and occupational functioning later in life, and is associated with greater risk of harmful coping, mental health disorders, substance abuse and suicide. 


One study revealed that bereaved children are more than twice as likely than non-bereaved children to display impairments in functioning in ECEC settings, school and in the home. 


In the lead up to Christmas, the absence of a loved one can be felt even more deeply. Despite the prevalence of this specific trauma in the lives of many children, there are limited resources to discuss this traumatic experience or event with children in ways that are developmentally appropriate and provide both understanding as well as comfort.


For young children, understanding the permanence of death is extremely difficult. They may experience many different emotions and are not always able to express how they feel, which can be frustrating. Although processing grief may become easier over time, grieving never truly “ends”. These new resources aid children throughout the grieving journey by providing thoughtful ways to remember loved ones and effectively express and manage big feelings associated with grief and loss.


The free English and Spanish resources include three new videos featuring Sesame Street friends navigating complex facets of grief, including secondary losses and re-grieving: 


  • Elmo and Jesse Remember Uncle Jack by celebrating him and show there are maybe ways to remember and celebrate a person who is no longer with us.
  • Children can express their feelings of grief through play. Jesse Expresses Grief Through Play by showing how children express their feelings and how grown-ups see how they can help.
  • Grief can come and go in life for both children and adults. In Re-grieving as Seasons Change Jesse and her mom, Jill, share memories of Jesse’s dad and talk about their feelings together.

These resources also include a new digital storybook, child-facing interactive game, articles, and printable pages:


  • A Read-Along Digital Storybook: Something New features Sesame Street friend Jesse, whose dad died, and shows how Jesse learns to navigate grief as time goes on.
  • Express Yourself with Elmo and Jesse! is a digital interactive game that encourages expressing emotions through creativity.
  • Three new printable activities include colouring and empathy-building activities.
  • Parent and caregiver articles offer language, tips, and strategies to help communicate with children about coping with grief.


“Our resources not only provide ways for caring adults in children’s lives to help them cope with loss, but also offer comfort, hope, and ways to look ahead and start to heal as a family,” said Jeanette Betancourt Ed.D., Senior Vice President of U.S. Social Impact, Sesame Workshop. 


ECEC employees, teachers, healthcare professionals, social workers, and any providers working with families and children, are invited to use and share Sesame Workshop’s large and growing library of bilingual resources and professional development tools, created to support them in their vital work.


The new resources can be found in English and Spanish at 

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