Change it Up

Sesame Street has been on the air for 40 years today. NPR did a big story on how it’s changed throughout the years and what’s stayed the same. Apparently the biggest thing that has stayed the same is that the show could count on the kids loving pretty much whatever they did. Because it turns out that kids are super adaptable. It’s the adults who disagree with the change. I laughed out loud when I heard this.

Because here’s the thing: as parents we go out of our way to get our kids into routine pretty much from birth. Feeding schedules, sleeping schedules, developmental schedules, you name it and we have a schedule or recommended method for it. And the routines only get more entrenched and complicated as the kids get older. We all cuss out daylight savings time for screwing up the kids’ schedules and blame all the temper tantrums and sleep troubles on the slightest disruption in routine. Even when we don’t really think we have a routine. We stay home on week nights instead of having family get togethers because we don’t want to mess up the kids’ routines. We schedule our whole lives around naps and eating and homework and school and anything and everything else we can jam into our daily lives.

But according to all of the child development experts that Sesame Street calls on when constructing its programming, children are utterly and completely adaptable. They don’t care if Elmo is moved around with wires or if he’s computer generated. They don’t care if Big Bird says hello the same way every morning. They don’t care if the Sesame Street sets are the same every time they tune in. As long as the show is there and singing and engaging and giving them awesome Muppets to look at and believe in, they couldn’t care less whether Cookie Monster has teeth or not.

I guess it is nice to know that as long as my kids are engaged and being loved through every day that that’s good enough for them. Now, if I could just figure out how to let go of my need for routine we’d be getting somewhere.

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