Sesame Workshop Materials for Children with Incarcerated Parents Strengthen Children’s Positive Feelings about their Families

Sesame Workshop developed multimedia educational materials to support young children with incarcerated parents, including videos about visiting and a song performed by the muppets called “You are not alone.” In one of our recent published papers, we reported on a randomized efficacy trial evaluating these educational materials. We collected data from 67 children who were 3–8 years old. We asked children to indicate their feelings about their caregivers, incarcerated parents, families, and visiting in general by using an ipad with emojis that they could touch. Data were collected when children arrived at the jail to visit their incarcerated parents and then again following the intervention or control condition (watching a muppet video about the weather), but prior to the parent-child visit.

In the intervention group, the proportion of children reporting positive feelings about their families increased from pre- to post-test. Such an increase was not seen in the control group. These findings suggest that viewing the Sesame Workshop incarceration materials led to more positive feelings about their families in young children with incarcerated parents.

A previous report showed that the Sesame Workshop materials were associated with caregivers feeling more comfortable talking with their children about the parent’s incarceration.

Muentner, L., Pritzl, K., Shlafer, R., & Poehlmann, J. (2023). Using a brief multimedia educational intervention to strengthen young children’s feelings while visiting jailed parents. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 1-14.