If you're not tuning in to the slew of parenting podcasts out there (including our own Pregnancy Confidential) you could be missing the latest advice on bringing up your kids. Not sure how to become a podcast pro? These basics will get you listening in!

By Ellen Sturm Niz
April 29, 2016
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Step 1: Access a Podcast Listening App

You can play podcasts via mobile, tablet, or on your computer, but you won't be able to subscribe to your favorites without downloading a podcast listening app. These apps manage and play the podcasts you want to hear, when you want to hear it. While it is not entirely necessary to have to access most podcasts, a podcasting app does make listening to all your favorites in one place much easier. Plus you'll be notified of new subscription releases so you never miss an episode.

Mobile

Your smartphone is one of the easiest ways to listen to podcasts anywhere you want. Many podcast listening apps like Stitcher, Spotify or Podkicker allow you to listen on iOS, Android or desktop. Some stations, like NPR, also have their own apps to connect you to streams of all its podcasts, including its Tell Me More series, which checks in with diverse moms and dads for their common sense and savvy parenting advice. Find them in your phone’s app store.

  • iOS. To listen on your iPhone or iPad click on the Apple Podcasts app. There you can listen and subscribe to all of your favorite shows or search the directory to find something new.
  • Android. Android users can use the built-in Google Podcasts app. There you can listen and subscribe to all of your favorite shows or search the directory to find something new.

Desktop

Most podcasts have a play function on their website to make for convenient listening on those days when you can’t leave your desk. Just navigate to the podcast episode page and look for the play button.

Step 2: Subscribe to your faves.

Next, search for and subscribe to the podcasts you want to check out. Your app will then automatically update every time a new episode is released. To unsubscribe from a podcast, click the “unsubscribe” link in your preferred listening app.

Parents columnist Sabrina James suggests these four parenting podcasts you shouldn't miss for parenting-peer advice, insight, and some LOLs, including our Pregnancy Confidential series, a week-by-week podcast that walks listeners through the physical, emotional, and all-round quirks of each week of pregnancy. Our new series We Are Family shines a light on the beautiful diversity of today’s families, interviewing a mix of experts, parents and celebrities on the most buzzworthy parenting topics, from IVF to surrogacy, fostering and adoption, blended families, LGBTQ+ parenting and more. We also love The Longest Shortest Time, a bold show about parenthood and childhood hosted by This American Life contributor Hillary Frank, and Mom And Dad Are Fighting, where Slate's news director Allison Benedikt and culture editor Dan Kois bat around topics like racial issues in schools and vaccine debates through the prism of parenting. Of course, there are podcasts about more than just parenting, so search for anything your heart desires!

There's such a wide range of podcasts available it can be overwhelming—and easy to over-subscribe. Remember your smartphone, for example, only has so much memory, and downloading too many podcasts might make that dreaded "storage full" message appear on your screen just when you need to capture your kiddo's cutest moment ever.

Step 4: Find time to listen.

Multitasking is a mom's best friend, and the hands-free, eyes-free nature of podcasts mean they can be worked into your day in no time. Listen while you are doing laundry or the dishes, packing lunches or cooking dinner, exercising, driving home from carpool, or commuting to work—really anytime you could listen to the radio or watch TV, you can press play on a podcast instead. You can even pop in your earbuds while the kiddos are making a racket and hear advice on how to get them to behave!

Step 5: Get the whole family involved.

Want to find some family-friendly fare you can listen to with your kids? Check out Stuff You Missed in History Class, fun and entertaining info about everything from the Salem witch trials to Chinese foot-binding, and Storynory-Stories for Kids, stellar storytelling of fairy tales, myths, and histories performed by professional actors and storytellers. There's also the Brains On! Science Podcast for Kids (self explanatory, right?) and Radio WillowWeb, which is made by elementary school kids about literature, geography, math and more. All can prompt great family discussions—and just might help you avoid hearing "Are we there yet?" one million times on car trips!

Ellen Sturm Niz is an editor and writer who counts This American Life, Call Your Girlfriend, and Death, Sex and Money among her favorite podcasts. Please don't talk to her if she has her headphones on.

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