Elmo Feels Afraid

When we play together with children, we can discover what they are feeling.

Fear is a universal emotion—and not necessarily a negative one! Fear tells us something that we want to pay attention to. Instead of pushing the feeling away, we can try to name what’s at the root and work to overcome or cope with that root cause. Children may express feelings of fear with their behavior or through their play. When grown-ups notice and engage with children in a supportive way, they can help children feel safe. 

In this video, we see Elmo expressing feelings of fear as he plays. By playing with him, Elmo’s dad learns that Elmo is feeling scared of germs. They talk together and soon Elmo feels a little better. Watch this video together with children. 

  • Before watching: Talk about feeling afraid. Have you ever felt afraid or scared? 
  • While you watch: Notice what Elmo’s dad does to help Elmo feel less afraid. 
  • After watching: Ask children what happened in the video. Then talk about any fears your child may have. Use strategies such as sharing positive information about something they’re afraid of or letting them know you’re there for them. (Tip: read the article for more ways to respond when your child feels afraid.) 

Especially in challenging times, make time to play with your child to understand what they are feeling and to help manage their big feelings.