Fred Rogers dedicated his life to understanding childhood. He took that knowledge to the medium of television and created a relationship with millions of children with his  groundbreaking PBS series, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”

His welcome

Each visit begins with a welcoming song that feels personally delivered to each child watching. As Mister Rogers changes from his work clothes into his sweater and sneakers, that seemingly simple routine is part of a larger message and an invitation. The message: I care about you, no matter who you are and no matter what you can or cannot do. The invitation:  Let’s spend this time together. We’ll build a relationship and talk and imagine and sing about things that matter to you.


A television “visit”

What helped Mister Rogers build this relationship with his viewers?  Each “visit” starts with the donning of the sweater and sneakers signaling the transformation from Fred Rogers to Mister Rogers. Children thrive on repetition and routine. Predictability offers a sense of security and calm, and builds trust. The sweater, the sneakers, the visit to Make-Believe, feeding the fish, the goodbye song and a promise to be back. It was all very intentional and reassuring. 

I can’t leave now. Who will Mister Rogers talk to?
A young viewer

Don't forget the fun

Although Mister Rogers offered a structured world to his visitors, he made sure that there was also time to be playful together. After all, having fun together strengthens any relationship.

I like you so much
it feels like hearts are
coming out of my head.
A young viewer

I’ll be back

Mister Rogers never left without reminding his television neighbor that he would be back again, with more ideas to share. And his important closing message still resonates with the adults who were children once.

I’ll think of you when I’m not here,
because thinking of people makes them seem near.
Mister Rogers

Next Section: His Messages