I have a confession: I’ve read maybe four books in the past two years. Maybe… As life has gotten busier and busier, I find myself wanting to just crash on the couch and zone out after a long day. I actually find reading more relaxing than watching TV, but many nights, probably too many nights, it honestly feels like too much effort on the part of my brain. Is that sad?
Recently, I’ve found myself falling in love with podcasts. They’re relaxing but engage my brain beyond a Netflix binge fest. I can also multi-task while listening to them, unlike watching TV, which is very much needed. Am I the only one who feels buried under a never-ending pile of chores? Plus, I’ve discovered the surprisingly large selection of podcasts for children, ranging from storytelling to science topics. Even though my son is a toddler, we’ve already started enjoying a few of them together. Here are a few of our favorites.
The hosts of this podcast start every episode out by sharing their parenting triumphs and fails. The hosts are a great mix of parents: divorced, married, older kids, younger kids, black, white. They discuss the latest parenting news and answer listener questions that range from disciplining children to religious celebrations for your atheist child. The hosts feel like my virtual parent friends. I often find myself pulling up this podcast when I’m unwinding on my way home from work.
Janet is my spirit animal. In this podcast, RIE expert Janet Lansbury answers listener questions on the topics of toddler discipline and respectful parenting. What I love most about this podcast is that she models the language and tone of voice she uses. I’ve found myself repeatedly listening to several episodes in order to internalize her phrasing and the perspective she brings to challenging experiences with toddlers. Without a doubt, I am a more confident and respectful parent as a result of her advice.
The title of this podcast alludes to the idea that while as parents we have days and weeks that drag on, when we look back it will all seem so fleeting. The host, Hilary Frank, covers parenting from all stages and addresses hard topics like talking to your children about racism. She is so pleasant and the stories are so engaging that I’m often bummed when the episodes end.
We all have moments when we need a quick boost and a gentle reminder to reset our focus on the positive elements of our daily lives. I find myself tuning into this podcast, particularly her shorter mini-episodes, for quick tools and suggestions for living a happier and less stressful life. Perfect to listen to while washing the dishes or getting ready for bed.
Parenting is a big responsibility for a lot of reasons, one of which is that the world is a complicated place for kids to navigate. With kids being exposed to the news and social media at an earlier and earlier age, it’s important to help them understand what they’re seeing, how to evaluate it, and what to do about it. This podcast explores the intersections of race, ethnicity, and culture and how they influence our daily lives. It’s helped me gain new perspectives on the world works and has prepared me to better help my son understand the complexities of life.
Celebrate the little things in your day and in your roles as a mom. This podcast produced by our sisters at the City Moms Blog Network brings a sprinkle of fun to those mundane moments in motherhood. From topics on intentional planning, diversity in motherhood, sleep training, post-baby mom bod, work-life balance and more there is a topic for every mom. Check out their latest podcast on Feeding Picky Eaters.
For Your Kids
I started listening to this podcast when I was pregnant. Hosts Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz explain science with personality and goofy humor. They described a solar eclipse as a moon photobombing the sun! While it’s made for kids, I enjoy relearning little tidbits of information from high school days gone by.
If you grit your teeth listening to Raffi, this podcast is for you. This weekly music radio show is broadcast from Austin, Texas and features fun music that the whole family can rock out to. My husband and I grew up listening to They Might Be Giants, so we’re also suckers for the fact that every episode starts with one of their songs.
The premise of this show is pretty amazing. Kids submit their “what if” questions to the show, like “What if sharks had legs?” and also share their favorite things. Then in each episode, one kid’s submission is turned into a crazy and silly story complete with voices and sound effects.
This podcast is very similar to ‘Wow in the World.” Kids submit a scientific question that is answered in each episode. One of my favorite episodes tackled the question “What is Down Syndrome?” in clear and engaging way, without talking down to their little listeners.
Bonus: Local Podcasts
The State of Things is a live program hosted by Frank Stasio devoted to sharing the issues, personalities, and places of North Carolina to listeners. Frank does stories on recent local news stories and interviews interesting personalities from around the state, ranging from artists to activists. Frank has a smooth and warm voice, so I somewhat weirdly find this podcast relaxing.
Kate Bowler the host is a young mother and professor who, at 35, was suddenly diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. Kate talks with people about what they’ve learned in the dark times in their lives. The conversations are insightful and surprisingly are often funny. Kate teaches at Duke Divinity School and is the author of “Everything Happens (And Other Lies I’ve Loved).”
I just discovered this podcast. The hosts are hospitality industry veterans who take listeners behind the scenes of North Carolina’s food culture. In each episode they interview different chefs, distillers, farmers, and brewers from all over the state.