Until a few years ago, I had never bothered to listen to a podcast. I assumed podcasts were similar to National Public Radio, but for hipsters and nerds. This assumption couldn’t have been farther from the truth. According to a Nielsen report from March 2018, approximately 28% of the U.S. population listens to podcasts, and the average listener consumes seven shows per week. Podcasts have become a mainstay media.
For those of you who were like me and have never tried a podcast, think of them as a unique combination of both entertainment and information that focuses on a particular niche. Amateurs host some podcasts, while others are the creation of well-known celebrities. What makes these shows unique is that the conversations almost always feel intimate. It’s like the host or hosts are talking to you directly one-on-one. They are the perfect way to add some color to drab activities like jogging, commuting, cleaning, or running errands around town. There are thousands of options when it comes to choosing a show. Actually, 630,000 options, to be exact. To help you get started, let’s take a look at some of my favorite podcasts dedicated to parenting.
Podcasts for Parents
This section is for podcasts specifically for parents that focus on adult issues. There’s another section below that lists shows that are kid-friendly.
Mom and Dad Are Fighting
From Slate.com, Mom and Dad Are Fighting is a thought-provoking podcast that is a favorite of parents and non-parents alike. Hosts Gabe, Rebecca and Carvell provide a diverse perspective on parenting in the 21st century. One description from a typical weekly episode states the hosts discuss “YELLING! and other subjects including kids mocking the weight of their teachers, the privilege conversation, stolen cell phones, and making sick days fun.” I would highly recommend this podcast to just about anyone.
Liz Gumbinner and Kristen Chase of CoolMomPicks.com host this candid and humorous show on the daily challenges of being a parent. This show has found quite a bit of success because the hosts are highly relatable. When you first start listening, you tend to believe they’ve got it all figured out, but you soon realize they make the same mistakes as everyone else. This podcast is a realistic approach to parenting.
The Mom Hour
The hosts of The Mom Hour bring a great depth of knowledge and creativity to the table in this weekly show. One is a writer for major outlets like The Washington Post and the other is the CEO of the Life, Listened family of podcasts. Between them, they have a total of eight kids ranging in age from 4 to 19 years old. This podcast stands out because of its choices in practical topics. Recent episodes include “Helping Kids with Doctor Visits” and “Holiday Travel & Visiting Relatives.” The Mom Hour is a mix of common sense advice coupled with years of experience from two down-to-earth hosts.
The Longest Shortest Time
This award-winning podcast spans the gamut when it comes to parenting. Host Andrea Silenzi takes listeners on a different journey each week. Episode topics range from common themes, such as dealing with infertility issues, to the less traditional material including women who have given birth in a car and polyamorous couples. A recent host change has upset some longtime listeners, while others find the new content enthralling. This poignant, sometimes crazy show is worth a try, especially for expectant or first-time mothers.
This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Northeast Ohio Parent’s very own show, aParently Speaking. Host Miriam Conner takes an in-depth look at some of the various topics discussed in the magazine. The connection to Northeast Ohio is what makes this show such a standout. Miriam speaks with greater Cleveland locals such as Jen Toohey from Star 102 and Danielle Dimengo from Akron’s Children’s Hospital. Check out this fun, informative show and you’re sure to hear some familiar voices!
Bring Your Kids!
Podcasts can be fun for kids, too! They offer parents a much-needed break from the daily music rotation of the same 20 songs on the radio. Here are three great shows to listen to with your children.
Imagined Life takes a unique approach, unlike anything you’ve listened to before. The show is part guessing game, part history lesson, and part fantastic storytelling all intertwined into a weekly adventure. Listeners are taken on an exploration through the joys, the sadness, and the moments that defined an individual on their journey to the public eye. Clues are provided along the way to help you guess the identity of each week’s mystery persona. Imagined Life is hard to put into words. You need to listen to this one to genuinely understand. The show is phenomenal for both kids and adults!
Pickle, from WNYC Studios, had a limited run of six episodes in December of 2017. Those six episodes have fans begging for more, though. The show is summed up by its tagline: “Big Questions for Small People.” It’s an ethics podcast for kids ages 5 to 11. The show provides different “pickles” and asks surprisingly deep questions about those difficult decisions in life. The hosts guide the conversation around things like “Do zoo animals have a good life?” and “When is it ok to tattle — and when is it not?” The shows are fun, engaging, and get children thinking. Pickle is a must listen!
Wow in the World
A relative newcomer to the podcast scene, Wow in the World has garnered a considerable following in the 18 months since it launched. Hosts Guy Raz and Mindy Thomas connect with kids through fun-filled conversations on exploring the world around us through the lens of science, technology and discovery. Wow in the World encourages kids to join a community of other “wowzers” at its website, wowintheworld.com.
Whether you are new to podcasts or a veteran listener, the shows listed above will provide you and your children with educational entertainment. Most smartphones come with a built-in app for searching for podcasts. In case you don’t have one, check out Overcast on iPhone or CastBox for Android phones.
Mike Daugherty is a husband, father of three young children, author, speaker, Google Innovator, and possible Starbucks addict. He is a certified educational technology leader who has served in a variety of roles through his 18-year career in public education. Currently, Mike is the director of technology for the Chagrin Falls Exempted Village School district in Northeast Ohio. His blog, More Than A Tech, offers advice and ideas for parenting in a digital world.