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My Muppets obsession helped me explain the pandemic to my preschooler

September 12, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

CNN's Ali Velez Alderfer grew up with "Sesame Street" in the early 1980s. Little did she know that the Muppets would help prepare her to raise her own child during rough times her family would face over the past few months amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

(CNN)Growing up with "Sesame Street" in the early 1980s, I found pieces of myself in Cookie Monster's sweet tooth, Big Bird's gentleness and in Grover, who was outgoing and always willing to help others, even though he made a lot of hilarious mistakes.

The Muppets helped me get through the lean times and sang along with me when I celebrated any small victories.

I didn't know that these amazing characters would prepare me to raise my own child during the rough times we'd face over the past few months.

In graduate school, I studied the informal learning that happens for young children when exposed to Muppet movies and other media created strictly for entertainment.

Young kids also learned language while being entertained by these movies and television programs, especially when watching with a parent or other close adult.

But I also learned about helping others, community and what to do with all of the big feelings that took over my little body.

It didn't even occur to me at the time that I was using the same language the grown-ups on "Sesame Street" had used to help Big Bird and 6-year-old me understand Mr. Hooper's death.

We didn't realize that would be the last time my kiddo saw anybody beside his parents for six months — and counting.

We told our son that it was just time for everyone to stay at home and spend time with their families for a while, like a little vacation.

I told him that there are some big germs out there, and if we get together with lots of friends, it might make us all not feel well.

Every family has difficult choices to make — and there is no one correct answer.

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