A Parents’ Guide to Esme and Roy

By Allie Waxman

Let Sesame Workshop’s content chief, Kay Wilson Stallings, tell you what you need to know about the importance of play in their latest series.


  1. 1

    Meet your new favorite babysitters.

    Feeling playful, silly, sad? Esme and Roy have the range covered. “They really provide that nurturing experience that we know kids are looking for in their babysitters,” says Stallings.

  2. 2

    “Little monsters” will relate.

    All kids have meltdowns so Stallings knows they’ll get it: “We liked the idea of creating these little monsters who mirrored the kids in our audience, so they could say, ‘look, that little monster is just like me!’”

  3. 3

    Encourage kids to play.

    Children today are not given enough opportunity to play so Sesame Workshop sought to inspire more play — and model how children learn through it— as guided by the lead characters. “As play guides, Esme and Roy set up different types of play to solve problems,” Stallings explained. “They help the little monsters learn a range of skills while extending their interest through play.”

  4. 4

    Practice mindfulness.

    Mindfulness isn’t just for adults. “We know that when kids and adults are upset or frustrated, they need to regulate their emotions in order to think clearly,” says Stallings. In each episode we model one of three strategies children can use: belly breathing, self-talk, and a glitter jar.

  5. 5

    Become your child’s play mentor.

    The best way to play? As partners. “Esme and Roy demonstrate to parents and caregivers how to guide that play and let kids take the lead,” Stallings explains. “I hope parents take away a better sense of how to be play mentors, and play guides, and not co-opt the play. Let their kids direct.”

  6. 6

    Get creative!

    You can find inspiration in the most ordinary of objects. “We take things that kids are familiar with, like a spoon or the toilet tissue roll, and we use those objects in unique ways as part of play scenarios,” Stallings shares. “There’s a homemade feel to the show, a lot of crafting.”