Moms – trust me, you may not understand why I’m writing an article about this, but if you are interested in easier travel with kids, more relaxing stroller rides with preschoolers, and car rides in which you don’t have to listen to ‘Kids Bop’, then read on.
Let me tell you a little secret about how I have single-handedly manipulated my kids into thinking they are scoring big when I let them have… wait for it… podcast time. Yup, the audio-only-nothing-to-watch ones where someone or some people only talk to you! I’m kind of still chuckling at how marvelous this all is. Of course, my 7-year-old still loves video games, shows on TV and pretty much anything else with a screen, but he still loves podcasts!
How did this all go down?
I started them young. Actually, my first son took 3 international airplane trips between ages 1-2 years old and it was soooooo hard! I was struggling with moral issues about using the screen as a “babysitter”. Don’t get all judgy on me, I’m a fairly normal mom, I whipped out the iPad in the end! (Actually, I whipped out the iPad pretty fast.) But, I still wanted another option, something else that wasn’t screen-centric for future trips.
As I pondered this dilemma, I remembered listening to audiobooks as a kid and figured I couldn’t possibly be so old that audiobooks wouldn’t still be around. Sure enough, all my son’s favorites were at the library (although, not in tape format lol!) So I stocked up, loaded them on my laptop and then transferred them to my iPhone. Initially, I played them on an iHome and it was a hit. He loved them. I played Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site, Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See?, Curious George and tons more. As he got older, and we took many, many more airplane and car trips, we introduced headphones (Hallelujah for my sanity!!)
Then one day I was tired of going to the library and doing the whole upload/download/transfer thing and I had an epiphany. Since I loved podcasts so much, there must be a kids version of some sort, right? YES!!! There are…multiple options! And you can stream them as well. No more laptop as the middle guy.
Here are the ways in which my life has changed from podcasts that I don’t even listen to.
- I can make a full loop around my favorite reservoir walk with my (now) 4-year-old in the stroller because HE is listening to his favorite podcasts. Even talking with other moms without being interrupted every 5 seconds is now possible. What a concept! I need those “adult conversations” to keep me grounded. If this is the only way I can get a “time-out” from kids all day, then I will take it. Stay-at-home moms, am I right?
- Airplane travel is much easier, especially when your other electronic dependencies show low battery. (I swear I charged them before we left the house!) But old iPhones that run on airplane mode and only run podcasts and audiobooks, they last FOREVER! Get those kids plugged in right away and go ahead and open that book you put off until vacation. **Just be sure to download the podcasts before you leave the Wi-Fi zone!!
- Car trips have been so peacefully quiet at times after introducing podcasts and headphones that I sometimes have to turn around and make sure we actually remembered to put the kids in the car. I even have uninterrupted conversations with my husband. Whoa.
- That hour before dinner when you need to scrape together dinner but your kids are tired and hungry and “don’t have anything to do”…instead of turning on the TV, just put on a podcast.
The Good, The Bad and (there’s no Ugly) of using podcasts for kids.
- costs nothing
- goes anywhere
- boost learning
- reduce screen time
- have to remember to download for when you don’t have access to wi-fi
- it is sometimes difficult to find out what is age appropriate so it’s not confusing or over their heads
- some play ads
Our favorite podcasts (really, my kid’s favorites)
Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian – great for kids of many ages (I would guess 4-12) and the best part is that even I don’t mind listening (I secretly hope they don’t listen ahead so I can catch all the episodes!) The author even works in literary references from classics. My 7-year-old begged to read A Wrinkle In Time after it was heavily referenced in a string of episodes. This one is hands down one of the best podcasts for kids I’ve ever heard. Go to the website.
The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel – more for the older child (roughly ages 8-14) but my 4-year-old still likes it (I’m pretty sure some of it goes over his head but there is no inappropriate language or behavior). Very captivating and strings you along so that you (I mean your child) is anxiously awaiting the next episode. Check out the website.
Story Pirates – for the younger kids (roughly ages 4-10). Admittedly, this one is a bit harder for the adult crowd to listen to but my kids are rolling on the floor laughing to some of the episodes. Kids write stories, send them in, and the cast adapts the stories into quite creative funny episodes. Check out the website.
Barefoot Books Podcast – for roughly ages 6-12. This was one of the first I discovered. I didn’t realize it but there are hard copy books of the stories at most libraries. At one point my (then) 5-year-old knew the story of The Taming of The Shrew because it is based on one of these stories! It’s no longer producing new content but still worth listening to. Check it out on iTunes.
Add this Mom Hack to your list of ways you can make your life easier.
I hope by now you have realized why an article touting kids podcasts has shown up on a blog for moms getting healthier and happier. Anything to make our lives easier, breathe a little more, and have a moment of peace and quiet is priceless. #momhack
If you have young ones, get started now! Go to the library and get some audiobooks or peruse the kids’ podcasts available in the iTunes or Android store. The more you expose them the more they are likely to take to it. You just might be surprised…and you just might find that your life is a little bit easier. #winning
Let me know how it goes and if you find a good podcast!
20 Podcasts for Kids
Great Audiobooks for Kids