After being on the scene for over a decade, podcasts have had massive popularity growth since 2014. Investigative reporting, narrative, and daily news programs have all found niches, and are listened to by millions.
And there are now podcasts made especially for children. But are podcasts for kids actually good for kids?
(Spoiler alert: Probably. If you want to start listening right away, here are our 9 best podcasts for kids)
What does the research say about podcasts for kids?
You can imagine a research paper on this – “Podcasts for Kids and Families”, or “Buds in the ears of babes; Are podcasts good for kids?”.
So is there any evidence podcasts for kids are educational, or socially beneficial? GoGet asked Lorna Clarkson, Head of Children’s Podcasts at the children’s online radio station, Kinderling.
“Yes and no! There’s a lot of research around limiting screen-time for kids, so off-screen entertainment is a great alternative.”
“There’s also strong anecdotal evidence suggesting off-screen audio activities allow children to better engage their imaginations and improves their socialisation.”
We also have some focus group data. A producer for the kid’s podcast Tumble found children as young as six focused through a full 15 minute show. She also observed kids who listened to the podcast use the information they’d learned to inspect a dead wasp, and discuss what might have killed it.
The likely advantages of podcasts for kids
Despite a lack of specific research on podcasts for children, Lorna says children’s podcast producers are making their shows as wholesome as possible.
“We have specific programming and podcasts designed to help children meet the ‘Early Years Learning Framwork’ outcomes.”
“One example is our Play & Learn show, with activities like; Minute of Listening, an audio guessing game; or Music Time, which teaches tone, pitch, and music.”
With many producers trained in early childhood education (just like the original Wiggles) you can safely assume podcasts won’t be doing your kids any harm.
And as Lorna says, getting kids away from screens is great. Experts recommend screen time for kids aged two to five should be under an hour a day, and younger kids should have none at all!
But if you get your kids into podcasts, keeping them away from screens will be much easier. And by engaging their imagination, kids will benefit more than they would from just watching TV.
Listen together, alone, or in the car?
So you’re convinced podcasts for kids are great, but what about logistics? Adults normally listen to podcasts by themselves, but few kids will happily wear headphones and just listen. So depending on your kids, podcasts might be more of a group experience.
The car is a good place to introduce your kids to podcasts. Kid’s movement is restricted, and the changing environment gives them some visual stimulation that isn’t too distracting.
And remember, every GoGet car has bluetooth audio, so getting a podcast up and running is quick and easy!
At home, a great way to listen together is with a home assistant like the Amazon Echo. Just ask to play the latest episode of your favourite podcast for kids and it’ll start. You could also connect your phone to a hifi or bluetooth speaker.
Time to explore!
However you listen, and whatever you listen to, give podcasts for kids a crack, and see how your children respond! It could take some time to get them used to it, but keep at it and you’ll have a much more wholesome option than Candy Crush.
Where to from here? We mentioned it earlier, but here’s the link again to our 9 favourite kid’s podcasts – including some great Australian offerings!