It’s very clear that kids nowadays love Elmo. He’s even a toy that can teach children to potty train themselves and helps with vaccinations! Mums, have you ever wondered why of all the Sesame Street characters out there, Elmo is without a doubt your little ones’ favourite? What exactly is it about this little furry, red, squeaky companion that is so appealing to babies? It turns out there are some science-backed reasons as to why children like Elmo!
Is it those cute, googly eyes, bright yellow nose and furry composure? Source: Flickr
Your little ones love Elmo because of his…
- Colour – Mums, did you know that red is one of the first colours that babies can see? According to the American Optometric Association, babies aren’t born with developed visual abilities. Rather, they have to learn and improve these abilities as they grow. Even so, eye care company Bausch confirms that babies are able to see the primary colour red just after a week of life.
- Sound – Elmo talks similarly to how parents talk to their babies. Dr Lauren Gardner, administrative director of the Autism Centre at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, explains why. “The high-pitched voice, dragged-out vowel sounds, and exaggerated inflexion are how most children are spoken to by caregivers in our culture”, says Dr Gardner.
- Moral Righteousness – Elmo says “thank you”, “please,” and is “always kind.” He even went to to Singapore to share happiness! Unsurprisingly, kids are trying to learn such positive traits from their parents. Shanna Donhauser, a child and family therapist of The Happy Nest, explains. “Children are attracted to these characters as they express positive feelings they personally know and characteristics they appreciate”, says Ms Donhauser.
- Relatability – Elmo thinks, speaks, and explores like a child, and he delights himself at the process. Similarly, he also learns new things at the same pace as your little one. Not to mention because Elmo is funny and doesn’t judge, toddlers know that it’s alright to fail. Toddlers can relate to Elmo’s behaviour. It reflects their own limited self-understanding of the world around them. This makes Elmo feel like a friend.
Essentially, your little ones can see Elmo clearer and feels comfortable knowing that Elmo sounds like a parent. They also see Elmo as a friend, exploring life like they are, whilst also trying to learn positive characteristics from him.
Now isn’t that cute?
These reasons as to why children like Elmo shows that all babies are born innocent. And it’s not just Elmo — even Sesame Street, on the whole, seems to help.
Did you know there are also benefits for your kids from watching Sesame Street?
A study from 2001 investigated the effect of television habits in preschoolers. The study focussed on how television habits affected their academic results, extracurricular activities and self-image.
The results were very surprising because irrespective of gender, family size, or parents’ education, kids who watched Sesame Street were better than their peers in later life.
A few characteristics of these kids had higher total GPA, read more books, and were rated as more creative, to name a few. Boys became less aggressive in high school, while Girls were likelier to participate in extracurricular art classes.
This was mainly because Sesame Street had a big emphasis on educational content.
The Scientific American
Flickr (for lead and featured Images)