Beloved 'Sesame Street' characters teach children how to deal with trauma

A new initiative from Sesame Street in Communities aims to help children learn how to cope with traumatic experiences and everyday stress.
4:41 | 10/06/17

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Transcript for Beloved 'Sesame Street' characters teach children how to deal with trauma
And we know the past few weeks have been stressful for families out there. This morning, "Sesame street" in communities is launching a new plan to help children deal with that stress and it's great to have sesame workshop Sherrie Westin and good friend pediatrician and CEO of Robert wood Johnson foundation, Dr. Richard Besser with us. Thank you both for joining us. Thank you. In the past few weeks we've had natural disasters and have had what happened in Las Vegas. But, Dr. Besser, there have been other kind of disasters, kinds of traumas for kids out there have a huge impact on well-being. There is a new study ha shows all children, well, half of all children by the time they hit age 18 will have experienced a major stressor, it could be witnessing violence at home or in the community or family divorce but all children have stress in their life and the wonderful thing is that there are things that children can learn to help them deal with it. And we think in terms of, well, it's an adult issue. We don't think the children are paying attention and listening. How does this affect the children? There's a lot of new brain science that shows that if you have stress and you don't do anything about it, especially early on, it can affect the brain, it can affect learning and affect development. But what we've also found is that by teaching kids what to do, tress doesn't have to define their life. They can have a full healthy life even if they've had stressors. Which is what we all want. Exactly. Sherrie, "Sesame street" is known for ingenious ways to teach kids. I learned my shapes on "Sesame street." I tested him. Triangle. That was right. I till got it. Still got it. You know, Oscar the grouch taught us it was okay to be grumpy but how did new initiatives help kid. You're so right. Sesame has a long history of helping children tackle some very difficult specific issues and when we do that we work in the communities with partners who are working with children, families directly and what we've learned from them is that there are very few resources that are broader that can help children deal with reducing stress regardless of the trauma or the circumstance. So these resources are designed to give children really simple strategies to help reduce stress, you know, imagining a safe space, deep breathing exercises and I think it's also so important for parents to understand the importance of communicating with their children about these issues of engaging with children and making them feel safe and secure. You know, we have big bird here. Big bird. Big bird. Rosita, Abby, they're all keir. I tell you what, you're very beautiful in person. I will tell you that. So are you. You're very beautiful in person. But you all are here to help us with some of these -- show us some things we're talking about. But they're very simple but effective. As a pediatrician there hasn't been things to teach kids to do and work with parents and care givers on. One of my favorites is something called squeeze and breathe. Rosita, you've learned how to do it. Can you show people how to do it. Yes, yes, of course, this is like works very well. I want everybody to do it with me. You know what, grown-ups, it's important they do it too. Okay. You guys chill. I agree. First squeeze your hands as tight as you can. Come on. Squeeze your hands as tight as you can, tight, tight, then you count to five, one, two, three, four, five. Now you let go. Now take a deep breath. Feel better already. How do you feel? I feel great. I feel great. But I'm curious. Sherrie, what does big bird do when he feels anxious. There are times big bird feels a little anxious and upset. Big bird, can you tell us some of the things you do to feel better? Sure, I imagine a safe place with all of my favorite things like my teddy bear radar or my granny bird's bird seed cookies. I imagine chocolate chip cookies. That does it for me. But I love this because we all kind of get lost that the kids are going through as much stress as we are as parents and it's great to know that "Sesame street" is there with this initiative to really help and, Dr. Besser, you're behind it.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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