I was curious about what my kids would think of sitting down and listening to their first podcast together. It reminded me of when my mom would turn on a record player back in the 80’s and the world seemed a bit quieter. Welcome to The Imagine Neighborhood.
Their tagline says it best: “A podcast where we use our imaginations to talk about the things that matter, with the people that matter most.” Committee for Children is a non-profit that is helping parents teach their children about the importance of kindness. In these podcasts, they use stories, music and activities to help kids AND adults grow which translates into better “people skills.”
This is called “social-emotional learning.” The podcast is a free series for kids and their families.
HOW IT HELPS KIDS DURING STRESSFUL TIMES
Hearing about this podcast was great timing, especially with the fear and questions these current events areis causing among my children. The show seems to be geared to preschool and younger elementary-aged kids, but I think it could be calming for those a bit older too. In addition to the Coronavirus fears, my 1st grader (age 6) has been having trouble in the evening containing her frustration as she gets more tired.
OUR KIDS THOUGHTS ON IMAGE NEIGHBORHOOD PODCASTS
One evening when a tantrum was gearing up, I plopped down on my bed and teed up the Imagine Neighborhood podcast titled, “The Clouds are Making Cake.” I immediately noticed her body relax as she listened to the soothing voices and story unfold about getting excited and trying to calm down.
They have characters named Scotty and Dr Calypso who help the “grown-ups” calm down by using belly breaths. Each podcast allows you to pause it and have a quick discussion about any impressions of your child (or you) may have.
It was useful in creating some much needed calm and rational discussion in our household. AND my daughter immediately asked to listen to another 15 minute podcast! When I asked her what she liked about the podcasts, she said, “I like to think of the pictures in my head while I listen!”
My three-year old son was equally enthralled with the “Count Vacula: Grownups Come Back” podcast. He couldn’t quite articulate his impressions as clearly as a six-year old. But I certainly could see the wheels turning while he listened intently as Count Vacula feels scared and his buddy, Scotty, asks about how you feel when you’re scared. Does your heart pound or your stomach feel tight?
Lately, when he goes to play at a friend’s house alone, he will sometimes ask, “Where is mommy?” I felt the message in this podcast was the perfect plant to seed about normalizing and dealing with nervous, embarrassed or scared feelings he may have. The goal of these podcasts is to establish “social-emotional” learning skills that allow children and adults to understand HOW emotions FEEL.
SONGS TO SING ALONG
Another fun part of these podcasts is they play songs by well-known artists within the show as an upbeat way to describe the emotions we may feel. An example is J. Lo’s “Let’s Get Loud” to help kids learn about using a loud voice for safety. Or Brian Eno’s “Deep Blue Day” is played in the middle of one show to talk about how one’s body feels when they’re calm.
Again, using this podcast as a way to pause, sit and listen with my children is a new tool I’ve been granted by The Imagine Neighborhood and I couldn’t be more grateful. While I haven’t tried them in the car yet, I was thinking these would be a great way to calm a carful of kids and start some thoughtful conversations.
GET YOUR FREE PODCASTS
Starting March 16, 2020, grownups can find these FREE podcasts on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and Stitcher, or anywhere podcasts are found. Apple iTunes podcast link is now live: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-imagine-neighborhood/id1500935369
The Imagination Neighborhood web site is: www.imagineneighborhood.org
About Committee for Children:
Committee for Children is on a mission to ensure children everywhere can thrive emotionally, socially, and academically. Best known for our innovative social-emotional learning (SEL) curricula that blend research and rigor with intuitive program design, we empower children and their adults with skills that help them realize their goals in the classroom and throughout their lives. Today, our social-emotional learning and child safety programs reach more than 14 million children in over 70 countries worldwide. Learn more at cfchildren.org.