As Tropical Storm Harvey continues to rain down on Houston and its surrounding areas, an old episode of Sesame Street offers clarity on how to discuss disasters like these with children.
In 2012 — in the wake of Hurricane Sandy — Sesame Street aired a condensed version of the show’s 2001 hurricane story arc, a week-long series that showed the neighborhood preparing for a natural disaster.
“Every year, there are a number of natural disasters that affect many people,” says Sesame Street‘s Gordon at the start of the episode. “Even if you are not directly affected, the television coverage of these events can be scary— especially to young children.”
The story focuses on the loss of Big Bird’s nest, leaving the muppet devastated. Over the course of the episode, his friends on Sesame Street help him process his feelings and rebuild his home.
The episode touches on elements of disaster recovery process that can be hardest to understand for small children — from the time it takes to rebuild, to disruptions to routine, to fears of another disaster.
Consider it a timeless resource for parents looking to start a conversation with kids about natural disasters.