Top Ten Podcasts for Balanced Parents

Top Ten Podcasts for Balanced Parents

I am often asked by the parents I work with for quick, easy ways for them to learn more about my approach to parenting. These parents are often very busy and don't want to spend their precious free-time reading parenting books. They want to spend it playing with their kids, chatting with friends, doing yoga, or connecting with their partner. This is something I support whole-heartedly! Your time is valuable and you should spend it doing what you love! Let others (like me) do the reading and distill it for you!

For these parents who are looking to make changes in their parenting while creating more balance in their lives, podcasts are my go-to suggestion. Podcasts are usually short, enjoyable, packed with good information, and they make it easy to learn while driving to work, washing dishes, or while out on a walk. 

Podcasts are a Great Way to Learn!

Podcasts can be an excellent way to to learn more about issues that you're interested in and the topics out there are endless. If there is something you want to learn more about I can almost guarantee there is a podcast for that! I tend to focus on shows that cover parenting tips, child development, relationships, social justice and intersectional feminist issues, psychology, and mindfulness. Others really love the health and nutrition-oriented options out there. So, there really is something for everyone. 

While there are a lot of options out there, if you are someone who is seeking to bring more peace and calm into their lives and wanting to live with a bit more intention, connection, and balance, these podcasts are for you! In no particular order:

1. The Longest Shortest Time

Hosted by Hillary Frank, this podcast beautifully captures the simultaneous pain and joy of parenthood through the sharing of stories that will resonate with most of us. The name speaks to the idea that, no matter how long each stage may seem when we are in the midst of it, it will seem so fleeting when we look back on it. 

2. Unruffled

In this podcast, RIE expert Janet Lansbury answers common questions on the topics of toddler discipline and respectful parenting. What I love most about this one is that you get to hear the tone of voice she uses, which can be so hard to convey in writing. Mastering this calm, collected, and connected voice is key to disciplining with love and respect. As Janet says, "The written word alone can be less than ideal for conveying the subtleties and nuances integral to respectful parenting. My hope in sharing advice through my podcasts is to clarify and fill in some of the gaps. Engaging with young children with respect is still, unfortunately, countercultural and can feel counterintuitive, so we need all the reminders, support and modeling we can get."

3. Your Parenting Mojo

Oh how I love this show! One of the things I miss most about leaving my job as a professor of Human Development and Family Studies is the daily opportunity to geek out on child development research with colleagues. Jen Lumanlan takes the latest parenting and child development research and translates it in to actionable steps for parents, all with an eye toward respectful parenting. She says of her podcast: "I started the podcast to be the resource I wished was already available: a critical view of scientific research on child development that helps us to be better parents.  I can't tell you how many times I've adjusted my approach to parenting my daughter after I finished researching an episode - we have frank discussions about race (turns out that not talking about race is a very effective way to raise a racist child!), she doesn't have to eat vegetables to get dessert, and she doesn't (and will not) get paid for chores..."

If you are drawn to evidence-based practices when it comes to parenting, this show is for you!

4. Zen Parenting Radio

This show is the ultimate show for parents seeking more balance in their lives. While it's billed as a parenting show, they talk about all of the other things that influence our parenting: Relationships, self-care, friendships, and who you are. It's hosted by a couple that are fun to listen to as they discuss parenting with presence and respect. One of the hosts, Cathy Adams, says of her show, "Our tagline for the show is The best predictor of a child’s well-being is a parent’s self-understanding, so we focus on self-awareness, empathy, mindfulness, and humor (and we throw in a lot of pop culture…). Our kids learn by watching how we live, not by listening to what we say - so if we take care of ourselves, others, and choose to be a force for good, our kids will learn to do the same. We’ve been doing Zen Parenting Radio for almost seven years, and it’s one of our greatest joys – our goal is to have fun and leave our listeners feeling outstanding."

5. Conscious Parenting for Confident and Successful Kids (Build Great Minds)

This is my "go-to" show for when I need a bit of a refresher on my intention to parent consciously. While it has a lot of great, straight-forward parenting advice, the host, Rhea Lalla, is incredibly skilled in helping parents shift the way they view their child's behavior. These reframes gradually help us approach our children's difficult behavior in new ways that free the children up to new responses. They are also pretty short and easy to fit into your busy day. Rhea says of her work, “I believe that our child's best self, hangs in the balance of our own transformation.  The more we understand our own inner mind, the more we can both understand and connect deeply to our kids.  This is both our pleasure and pain as parents, to find a way to climb inside our children and see the world from their perspective. To connect with them emotionally first and then and only then, redirect to what’s practical, logical and necessary if you must.” 

The episode on whining (#14) is pure GOLD.

6. Mindful Parenting in a Messy World

This is a true mindfulness-based parenting podcast and often focuses a bit more on mindfulness skills than actual parenting skills (although one could argue that mindfulness maybe the only parenting skill you truly need). Michelle Gale, the host, encourages listeners to view parenting as an invitation to grow, and really seems to see parents as whole, complex individuals. 

*These next few podcasts have very little to do with parenting directly and are more about really developing yourself as an individual. I view this as equally important to parenting as skill-based podcasts because, ultimately, we are our children's most important and influential teachers and children learn best through modeling. We need to be very aware of what we are teaching our children about the world and their place in it. And part of that means growing yourself, becoming more aware of the world you are in, and deciding, with consciousness and intention, how you will act.

7. Code Switch

We are raising children in a socially unjust world. It is as simple as that. I say this with no political agenda, and I have no desire to foist my views on you, but I do want you to critically examine the world we are raising our children in. I believe that we as parents have a huge amount of power to create change in this world, and it starts at home, and it starts with us. Learning about the current social issues, getting clear on our stance, and showing up for social justice in real tangible ways. NPR's Code Switch explores the intersections of race, ethnicity, and culture and how these influence the landscape of our daily lives. 

8. Another Round with Heben and Tracy

There are a growing number (but not enough yet!) of podcasts out there that give space to the voices of women of color, and this one is my favorite (Call Your Girlfriend is a close runner-up). The co-hosts and their guests discuss race, gender, and pop culture over drinks. It is this beautiful, inspiring mix of humor and information with a heavy dose of reality for white listeners. As a white woman, I find it so helpful in my learning process to just take a seat and listen to the realities that people of color face daily, all while recognizing that this show isn't "for" me. I so appreciate being able to listen in. The show always gives me something to think about, and often something to laugh about too. 

9. Vibrant Happy Women

Ok, so while I know that all of my readers do not identify as moms and/or women, this podcast has so much to offer to everyone because it focuses on building a strong sense of self and nurturing important relationships. Topics range widely from sex/intimacy, deep and lasting friendships, true self-care, balanced and mindful living, and how to be your authentic self.

The host, Jen Riday, says of her work, "The Vibrant Happy Women podcast is all about helping women to let go of overwhelm and burnout and to live vibrant and happy lives. As a mom of 6, I've had to learn to let go of that Pinterest-perfect, exhausted, wonder woman I used to be and focus instead on having enough quiet time so I can listen to my intuition and know exactly what would make ME happy. I believe the greatest gift we as moms can give our kids is our own happiness. We have to take care of ourselves, fill our cups, and live a life filled with meaning and purpose so our kids know how to do it themselves when they're adults one day. At the end of our lives, we don't want to be remembered as grumpy and exhausted women who were at the mercy of our to-do lists. Instead, most of us want to be remembered as moms who were vibrant, happy and fulfilled. Each episode of the Vibrant Happy Women podcast features a guest who did just that - finding deep happiness despite the everyday struggles of life."

If you identify as a man and/or dad, I would still give this one a try. It is important to listen to the voices of women so that you can fully understand and empathize with compassion and connection. 

10. The Moth Project

Ok, so the last few have been a bit "heavy" but this is one of my favorite, general podcasts. It is a storytelling podcast where you get to hear incredible, poignant stories. If you're like me you will likely laugh and cry, sometimes simultaneously. I love this one because you get to hear stories from the perspective of the person telling it and it is an amazing way to learn about the breadth of human experience, while still highlighting our common humanity.  

Bonus: LeVar Burton Reads

I had to throw this in because, as an early literacy researcher, LeVar Burton is just so relevant! (LOL) In each episode of this new podcast LeVar Burton chooses a short story and reads it to you. I deeply loved Reading Rainbow as a child and how awesome is it that now as a adult we can have that same, soothing voice read to us! Ok, so maybe my nerd is showing a bit on this one, but I'm very excited! 

If you're looking for more traditional, parenting-related podcasts, this list is great, and doesn't overlap much with mine.

Ok, there we have it, my favorite podcasts for parents! Please let me know what you think down below in the comments. I would love to hear about what you're listening to these days! 

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