Get Your Kids to Listen With This One Teacher Hack

Kids, in general, are known to be curious, loud, maybe even a little cuckoo. Some are talkative, some are more quiet and shy. Just like real people. Teachers across America regularly work with groups of 20, 30, 40 kids. How do they do it?

In school and life, listening is an important skill. Have you ever been that person that asks for directions, only to assume that the person standing next to you understood what the person giving directions was saying?

Then, there’s the beloved tablet. iPads. We love them for art, we hate them for actually TELLING US the hours and hours we spend just looking at a bright screen. In schools, students use technology pretty regularly. In fact, the business of educational technology is booming.

The Center for Disease Control has identified that children age 8-10 spend 6 hours a day in front of a screen, 4 watching television.

a young girl using her tablet

Children aged 8-10 spend 6 hours a day in front of a screen.

The number increases from four hours to a whopping nine hours a day in the age range 11-14. The number decreases by 1/2 an hour in the 15-18 age demographic, with teens averaging at about 7.5 hours a day of screen time.

Alternative Activities to Screen Time

Screen time in excess is bad, sure, we get it. But what are some ways to get kids off of screens? How can we decrease the amount of time that kids spend watching TV?

Parents looking to decrease their kids’ screen time can try some of these activities:

  • Play a sport like basketball, tennis
  • Learn how to skateboard or ride a bike
  • Walk the dog
  • Dance to some music or listen to a family podcast
  • Go for a run or walk
  • Clean up the yard
  • Join a gym or recreation center

But today, my children’s hack is: listen to a podcast.

Children’s Podcasts

Children’s podcasts have grown in popularity in recent years, as have podcasts in general. A lot of people may assume that kids don’t like podcasts. But in fact, the opposite is true.

Think back to elementary school. A teacher paces around the room, with clicking heels on the tile. The part of school that many kids loved– when the teacher would read a story.

Did you know that listening to an audiobook activates the same part of the brain as reading a book? Of course, audio is not a complete substitute for learning how to read. However, audio content for children is resurfacing.

We have not always called children’s audio content “podcasts,” rather, podcast is just a trending term. Back in 1940, Children’s Radio shows were abundant, just like Saturday morning cartoons in the 1960s.

person holding volume knob
Children’s Radio shows were popular in 1940.

So this is it, my teacher hack: put on a podcast. In fact, I love this trick even more than reading a story out loud because a podcast gives my own vocal cords a break.

Podcasts are a great way to start conversation with a family or even fill the silence during dinner and spark a little dialogue.

If you have ever wished that you could just listen to YouTube, or wondered: how can I listen to a YouTube video with no screen? It’s time to join the wonderful world of podcast listeners.

Get your kids listening to podcasts and audiobooks starting with these few free kids podcasts.

Here is a list of the best podcasts for kids, podcasts good for families and best podcasts to get kids to listen and think critically:

Happy listening!