10 TED Talks Every Modern Parent Should Watch

As a parent, you often have very little time for yourself. Fun and leisure (of the non-kiddie variety) are already hard to come by – but doing something that’s actually good for the noggin?  Forget about it. You don’t remember the last time you cracked open a book, or scrolled through a news site that wasn’t riddled with celeb gossip…

When you have a few minutes of time to spare and you need some serious brain food, consider TED Talks – these short, entertaining, and powerful talks are only 18 minutes long (or less!) and cover a variety of topics ranging from science to business; global issues to parenting. Watch the videos, or better yet, download the MP3s and listen to them in the car or while doing dishes.

Do Schools Kill Creativity?

Speaker: Sir Ken Robinson

If you’re concerned about your child’s education – or their school performance – this is the talk for you. Sir Ken Robinson argues that our education system is more concerned with producing good workers, rather than creative thinkers – Think: those drill sheets sent home for homework! Often our kids are labeled “hyper” and “restless,” or worse—ignored, because their creative minds aren’t being properly engaged and challenged. What would happen if teachers were to develop programs that focus on each student’s learning style instead of a mass program? And how can you feed your child’s interests when the school is failing you?

The Power of Introverts

Speaker: Susan Cain

Do you have a child that’s quiet or shy? Unfortunately, our society favors the social butterfly over the wall flower. But while our culture puts outgoing and social people on a pedestal, introverts bring all kinds of abilities and talents to share with the world – if we take the time to notice. Rather than praising one personality over another, how can we bring out the best in both?

For Parents, Happiness is a Very High Bar

Speaker: Jennifer Senior

As parents, we’re chasing a utopian ideal of raising happy kids. And the pressure is often overwhelming with the sheer amount of information out there to do it right. Our efforts backfire and the bar is set just too high! We’re led to believe that what was good enough for us as kids, somehow isn’t good enough for our kids, and we’re guilt-ridden, anxiously pursuing a goal that’s constantly escaping us. In this honest talk, Senior offers some kinder and more achievable goals for raising kids.

Five Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Kids Do

Speaker: Gever Tulley

You childproof.  You helicopter.  You try to make sure your kids make it through each and every day with constant supervision. But are you dumbing down your kids by being overprotective? Gever Tulley argues that all kids need to have a bit of danger in their lives. With your careful guidance, you can and should let your kids play with fire, hold sharp objects, and even deconstruct appliances (among other things)! Being able to fully explore the world around them and take risks will teach your little ones to use their brain, solve problems, build their confidence, and more.

Let’s Talk Parenting Taboos

Speakers: Rufus Griscom and Alisa Volkman

Babble.com publishers Rufus Griscom and Alisa Volkman are parents who provide a lively and humorous talk about 4 facts that parents never admit to and why they should. For example, taboo #2 - you can’t talk about how lonely having a baby can be. No one tells you about what it’s like going from being the center of attention for nine months to being in complete isolation once you’re home with the baby. You’ll find solace in knowing that you’re not alone, drowning in your feelings.

What Do Babies Think?

Speaker: Alison Gopnik

Ever wondered what your baby’s thinking when she’s at play? And is there a purpose to all the fun? Gopnik’s research explores the sophisticated intelligence-gathering and decision-making going on in your baby’s mind. Spoiler alert – They learn and know a whole lot more than we thought!

Are You Technically Fit to Parent?

Speaker: Michael Fey

Still haven’t caught on to all the latest kiddie Internet trends? Are your kids surpassing you in their knowledge? The newest technical innovations and the abundance of what the web has to offer – good and bad – can be confusing for parents. How do we approach cyber bullying or inappropriate online content? How do we navigating raising our kids in a technologically complex world? This talk gives parents practical advice to close the digital divide between you and your technology savvy kids. (So does this mean I can sign up for Snapchat? What’s Grindr again?)

Play is More than Just Fun

Speaker: Stuart Brown

Dr. Stuart Brown is a pioneer researcher on play and its role in human development. Beyond simple fun, plenty of play in childhood makes for smart and happy adults – assuming it’s the right kind of play. But if the product of play becomes more important than the play itself, then your child’s not really playing – they’re working. Find out how free play helps kids develop imagination and creativity, while no play at all makes Jack a very dull boy (or an adult who works non-stop and is depressed).

What We Learn Before We’re Born 

Speaker: Annie Murphy Paul

Pop quiz: When does learning begin? Answer: Before we are born. While in the womb, our baby incorporates emotions, tastes, sounds into their own body, and all the learning builds up their personalities. New research that shows the degree to which our babies learn in the womb — from how we respond to stress, to their soon-to-be-favorite foods. So before you listen to really filthy rap music/inhale that huge Chipotle burrito…

Agile Programing for Your Family

Speaker: Bruce Feiler

As parents, we have a lot going on– from demands at work, navigating through road rage, kid schedules, dinnertime, and so on. To deal with the stress of modern family life, we need to be agile. But are we achieving the level of agility the modern world requires? According to a study of 1,000 kids, the top two things they want us to be are: less tired and less stressed. So, well… the answer is… No.  To better manage our adult responsibilities and be able to respond to our children’s needs, Feiler introduces agile programming for greater flexibility, constant feedback, accountability, and bottom-up idea flow.

What are some of your favorite TED Talks? Share them with us in the comments below!

Tags : relationships   school   development   technology   

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