We might just be in the golden age of podcasting. Serial, a podcast investigating a 1999 murder case, garnered over 40 million downloads. Even President Obama joined in the craze, appearing on a podcast recorded in a comedian’s garage. We’ve picked five podcasts that will expand your horizons, shape your conversations, and help solve parenting conundrums. (Please note that, with the exception of #4, these podcasts are produced for adult listeners and may not always be suitable for little ears. These are for you, parents.)
- The Longest Shortest Time With new episodes released every other week at 3 A.M., the Longest Shortest Time just gets parents. Hosted by author and This American Life contributor Hillary Frank and distributed by WNYC, this podcast tackles a new parenting topic every week. Topics such as healing from childbirth-related injuries, parenting as a single mom, and answering a child’s questions about death are handled with honesty, humor, and compassion. The Longest Shortest Time is at its best when it addresses the fears and pressures that parents face but rarely speak about or even acknowledge.
- StoryCorps StoryCorps is much more than a podcast. It’s a nonprofit project whose mission is “to honor and celebrate the lives of everyday Americans by listening to their stories.” Instead of being questioned by a reporter, StoryCorps interviews are conversations between two people with a preexisting relationship. Each week the StoryCorps podcasts highlights one of these conversations, “revealing the wisdom, courage, and poetry in the words of people you might not notice walking down the street.” Parents and children are very often the participants in these interviews Highlights include a child with autism interviewing his mother, a fourth-grader asking his dad what his dreams are for him and his brothers, a 15-year-old girl talking to her intellectually disabled mother about her struggles to parent alone. . Their conversations will deeply move you and inspire you to approach your parent-child relationship with intention and compassion.
- Mom and Dad Are Fighting Slate’s parenting podcast is the playground conversation you wish you could have with other parents. Released every two weeks, each podcast covers multiple topics ranging from back to school to the vaccination debate to mommy wars. Slate editors Allison Benedikt and Dan Kois also share their parenting triumphs and failures and cover the latest parenting news. Drawing from their own experiences and those of their listeners, they give solid advice on navigating tricky parenting situations and tough conversations.
- Brains On! Produced by Minnesota Public Radio and Southern California Public Radio, Brains On! is a science podcast for kids. Each week a different kid cohost helps answer questions like, “Why does tickling make you laugh?” and “What makes paint stick?” In their own words, “We ask questions and go wherever the answers take us. Sometimes that means talking to a food scientist or a snake handler, other times that means putting on a play about sound waves or writing songs about sleep.” Brains On! will not only help you answer some of the thousands of questions your kids have for you about the way the world works, it will encourage your children to keep asking and investigating.
- The TED Radio Hour A coproduction of NPR and TED, this podcast is all about “Ideas Worth Spreading.” Each weekly show is based on a common theme and features talks from the stage of TED conferences- gatherings featuring innovative ideas and provocative thoughts. These themes are often applicable to parenting, including recent shows on how screen time affects our brains, the importance of listening, and how our upbringing shapes us.
We hope you enjoy these podcasts as much as we do!