Parenting: Difficult Conversations Is Santa Claus real? What happened to the cat? Why is that kid's skin color different? Raising children means facing tough questions. Sesame Workshop's child development experts have 50 years of experience with giving answers. They help us handle three sensitive subjects: magic, race, and death.

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Parenting: Difficult Conversations

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Is Santa Claus real? What happened to the cat? Why is that kid's skin color different? Raising children means facing tough questions. Sesame Workshop's child development experts have 50 years of experience with giving answers. They help us handle three sensitive subjects: magic, race, and death.

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Sesame Workshop

'We Wanted To Show Children Real Life': Sesame Street's Sonia Manzano

Actress Sonia Manzano is beloved by millions as Maria on Sesame Street. Her character on TV mirrored many of Manzano's real-life milestones, like marriage and motherhood (Elmo served as ring bearer for Maria's wedding on the show). She also wrote for Sesame Street in later years, and helped the show address diversity issues. In this special episode, Manzano reflects on her 44 seasons on Sesame Street, what she thinks was the show's most poignant moment — and which Muppet was secretly her favorite.

'We Wanted To Show Children Real Life': Sesame Street's Sonia Manzano

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How and when to keep your children aware of scary news, without traumatizing them. LA Johnson/NPR hide caption

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When The News Is Scary, What To Say To Kids

Whether a school shooting or a deadly tornado, scary events in the news can leave parents struggling to know when — and how — they should talk with their kids about it. Rosemarie Truglio of Sesame Workshop and Tara Conley, a media studies professor at Montclair State University, give us tips.
- Limit their exposure to breaking news.
- For the really big stories, pick a quiet moment and start the conversation by asking what kids have heard and how they're feeling.
- Give facts and context: Let kids know that most scary news events are rare. Show them where it is happening on a map.
- When they ask why something happened, avoid labels like "bad guys."
- Encourage kids to process the story through play, art, even video.
- Take positive action together.

When The News Is Scary, What To Say To Kids

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'What If We Lived In Two Houses?' Talking Kids Through Divorce

Even the most amicable split is world-changing for young children. Here are a few key tips for grown-ups trying to help their kids navigate this big transition.
- Give children as much heads-up as you can — as soon as you've made a definite decision to split up.
- It's a grown-up problem. Don't share details that will confuse your child or hurt your partner.
- Don't fear the big feelings or the "pajama truth-bomb."
- It's good for kids to talk about a separation — even when it may be painful for adults to hear.
- Make sure your kids know that not everything will change.
- Keep routines, and toys, consistent, even if they're traveling from one home to another.
- Look back together on the good memories.

'What If We Lived In Two Houses?' Talking Kids Through Divorce

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The Problem With Toy Guns And Princesses

Whether it's mini-makeup kits, gross-smelling slime or semi-automatic foam-dart guns, every parent or caregiver has fielded requests for toys that they're just not that into. We talk about princesses and superheroes and their influence on kids with Rosemarie Truglio of Sesame Workshop and Lisa Dinella, a gender studies professor at Monmouth University. Here's what to remember:
- Banning toys outright can be counterproductive.
- Pay more attention to how kids play than what they're playing with.
- Fight sexism in the playroom by broadening toy selections.
- Talk directly to your kids about your values.
- Join in your child's play to help expand the possibilities.
- Grossed out? Use toilet toys as a chance to teach science — and manners.

The Problem With Toy Guns And Princesses

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Death: Talking With Kids About The End

Whether it's a goldfish or Grandma, every child will experience a death at some point — and their parents will likely struggle to explain it. Here's what to remember:- Be honest and concrete. The cat wasn't put to sleep, and Grandma didn't go on a long journey.
- Don't overwhelm kids with too much information. They need time to process.
- Make sure kids know they're still surrounded by people who will love and support them.
- Don't be afraid to show emotion.
- When it comes to deathbed visits or funerals, tell kids what they might see and give them a choice.
- Keep the hope alive!

Death: Talking With Kids About The End

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Talking Race With Young Children

Even babies notice differences like skin color, eye shape and hair texture. Here's how to handle conversations about race, racism, diversity and inclusion, even with very young children. A few things to remember:
- Don't shush or shut them down if they mention race.
- Don't wait for kids to bring it up.
- Be proactive: Help them build a positive awareness of diversity.
- When a child experiences prejudice, grown-ups need to both address the feelings and fight the prejudices.
- You don't have to avoid topics like slavery or the Holocaust. Instead, give the facts and focus on resistance and allies.

Talking Race With Young Children

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Is It OK To Lie About Santa And The Tooth Fairy?

Magical thinking is part of childhood, and when it comes to characters like Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, parents often play along with elaborate charades. But what should grown-ups do when kids start aging out of the magic and asking tough questions? Here's what to remember:
- You aren't lying. You're entering their world of make-believe.
- When kids start asking questions, listen carefully. They might not be ready for the whole truth.
- When the jig is up (and you'll know!), come clean and be prepared for big feelings.
- Find new ways to keep the magic alive.

Is It OK To Lie About Santa And The Tooth Fairy?

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Introduction To Parenting: Difficult Conversations

Is Santa Claus real? What happened to the cat? Why do I have different skin color from other kids? Raising children means facing tough questions. Sesame Workshop's child development experts have 50 years of experience with giving answers. In this guide, we talk through how to handle three sensitive subjects: magic, race, and death.

Introduction To Parenting: Difficult Conversations

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