Rearing aids: the five best podcasts for parents

·3-min read

Rob Beckett and Josh Widdicombe’s Parenting Hell

You would think that the audience for this blokey, dad-based podcast would be primarily new dads. And yet, Beckett and Widdicombe’s mix of piss-taking and genuine introspection has drawn listeners from across the spectrum. You suspect that their dynamic might have something to do with this; quite often Widdicombe’s earnest efforts at parental self-improvement are met with raucous mockery from Beckett. If you worked on a desk next to them, there’s a chance that the non-stop banter would drive you up the wall, but in weekly, hour-long chunks it is an absolute delight.

Scummy Mummies

Sometimes all you need from a parenting podcast is to feel like you’re not entrenched in all the grot of it alone. And, if nothing else, Scummy Mummies are just excellent company. Hosted by comedians Ellie Gibson and Helen Thorn, usually accompanied by a guest, this podcast is best described as a played-for-laughs confessional, dealing with the sort of subject matter that you’d only share with friends you really trust. Whatever Gibson and Thorn happen to be going through – a traumatic birth, a divorce – they pull you in close and make you feel like part of their gang. Sometimes that’s all you need.

Sleepy Time

Podcasts are generally an incredibly inefficient way of communicating information, especially when you’re time-poor and surrounded by noise, which is why a lot of parenting podcasts are about as much use as a spaghetti stair gate. However, Sleepy Time bucks the trend by drawing your kids into the action. A collaboration between In the Moment magazine and, Sleepy Time’s eight short episodes are a godsend for parents with kids who refuse to settle. A calm, soothing voice will effectively talk your children down, depending on their age and level of activity, and if you play them with any regularity they should get them dozing in a matter of seconds.

How Not to Screw Up Your Kids

Again, podcasts that teach you to be a better parent are often quite unbearable; not only coming from a place of unhelpful sanctimony, but also too waffly and long-winded to have any actual benefit. That Dr Maryhan Baker’s How Not to Screw Up Your Kids avoids these pitfalls is nothing short of a magic trick. There is no irritating idealism here, just a sober yet tender exploration of issues most parents will face at one point or another. Navigating screen time, managing emotions, raising siblings, learning how to effectively co-parent: it is all covered. Obviously you’re still going to screw your kids up a bit, but this might provide some damage limitation.

Read-Aloud Revival

Sarah Mackenzie’s Read-Aloud Revival is a single-issue podcast with a completely joyous message: to reaffirm the importance of reading aloud to your kids, regardless of their ages. Mackenzie explains what happens to their brains when your children are read to, suggests books, and can help your children develop their own tastes. It is always encouraging, never preachy, and charming from start to finish.

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