It’s nearly impossible to complete an individual thought during the day before I’m interrupted again by the obscure musings of a three-year-old. Lately, I’ve found myself stretching screen time just to get a few extra minutes of quiet.
But then I feel guilty and can’t enjoy my quiet. I’m beginning to wonder how I will ever get anything done with one crawling baby that eats everything in sight and one curious chatterbox as sidekicks.
My little adventurer craves information and a chance to use his imagination. That need to create and make meaning out of one’s environment – a completely legitimate childhood requirement – can be exhausting for adults. So I set out to find a low-tech solution for when any of us, “just need a minute.”
I feel fortunate to be parenting in a time when we can weave together enriching traditions like storytelling with the technological advances of modern family life. Listening together has become a favorite family quiet time activity and a helpful tool for encouraging independence.
Since we started listening to stories together, we’ve strengthened our imaginations and our connection with each other. I’m more patient during pretend play with my son. His ability to craft stories for characters during independent play has also definitely improved.
So, grab your favorite pair of headphones and turn on your listening ears. These are some of the best family-friendly podcasts out there!
Wow In the World
National Public Radio recently released their first podcast series for kids, Wow in the World. This one is sure to be a curious kid pleaser. Hosted by fun and quirky Guy Raz and Mindy Thomas, each episode covers interesting discoveries in technology, space, the human body, and the brain. This Tinkercast team is well on its way to transforming how families learn.
But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids
A Parent.co podcast list wouldn’t be complete without this show, brought to listeners by Vermont Public Radio. The title speaks for itself in answering “why” this series is one to add to your queue. But Why answers questions from kid listeners on a wide range of topics.
This science series is the go-to tool for when you can’t possibly answer one more question. With fun topics like, “The Science of Slime”, and “Do We All See the Same Colors”, this is the perfect show for questioning, questioning, questioning...I mean, curious minds.
Tumble Science Podcast
A series for the tween-agers, this research-based show explores reader questions on topics like black holes and bones of ancient primates. Produced and hosted by a husband and wife team, Tumble encourages kids to see science and life as ongoing experiments and to never stop discovering. Their website is a popular resource for teachers and homeschool parents.
This podcast is part of the Bedtime FM podcast series. It features storyteller, Chanel Tsang, who paints beautifully-detailed visualizations with her unique stories and soothing voice. Peace Out introduces kids to calm down techniques, mindfulness, and deep breathing exercises.
This delightful audio show brings little listeners a literary buffet of story genres. The series enchants with original works, fairy tales, folk stories, and poetry read by a variety of narrators. The cast members have pleasant, British voices and the stories engage and encourage. Aspiring writers and young literature fanatics will really be inspired by this podcast and its resources.
These captivating stories are beautifully spoken by creative entrepreneur, David Sewell McCann. His work keeps listeners tuning in with lovable, recurring characters and lessons of friendship and kindness. This podcast is doing big things to encourage families all over the world to move away from their screens during quiet time. You’ll definitely want to follow their adventures!
The Longest Shortest Time
Brought to life by Hillary Frank, author of the well-known series, This American Life, this is a parenting podcast staple. Listening feels like having coffee in the kitchen of your keep-it-real, hilarious friend. With topics like, “The Weird History of Judgey Parenting,” it’s the perfect grownup brain break from parenting when your whole life, really, is still about parenting.
Hosted by respectful parenting adviser, speaker, and author, Janet Lansbury, each episode addresses a question from Janet’s fans and followers. Janet’s empathetic, yet firm approach to parenting topics offers listeners perspective on common issues from learning to use the toilet to sibling rivalry.
Family-friendly Road Trip Favorites
How I Built This
Guy Raz also hosts this inspiring interview series with well-known entrepreneurs, innovators, and company leaders. With stories of success and what achieving it really looks like, this show is kid-friendly and also motivating for adults who want to dream bigger.
This American Life
Easily the most listened to podcast in the U.S., this popular show’s website summarizes its appeal best, saying, “There’s a theme to each episode of This American Life, and a variety of stories on that theme. Most of the stories are journalism, with an occasional comedy routine or essay. There’s lots more to the show, but it’s sort of hard to describe.”
Other podcasts from this production team quickly gaining popularity are Planet Money, S-Town, and Serial.
Don’t Keep Your Day Job
Singer/songwriter Cathy Heller leads this interview podcast with creative entrepreneurs. This show is motivating for parents ready to make a living doing what they love. Older children listening would definitely be inspired to cultivate their own creativity and find a way to pursue big dreams.