Seemingly overnight the world has changed. Families everywhere are getting used to “the new normal”, staying home and using social distancing recommendations. Parents are getting creative keeping their children educated and entertained. My girls are currently “swimming” in the bathtub complete with swimsuits and extra bubbles. To me, this is a blessing. Under normal circumstances our lives are much too busy with their sports teams to slow down and enjoy a luxury bath. We are missing many things right now but are also gaining so much in our togetherness! There are definitely challenges though. In my efforts to limit screen time I’ve turned to podcasts. There are so many excellent choices for kids of all ages. They’re perfect for listening to during lunch, before bed or any time you need something to do!
The Imagine Neighborhood podcast came along at the perfect time. The podcast was designed to help kids (and their parents) grow their social-emotional skills using stories, music and activities. The 15 minute podcasts help children learn how to express their emotions, learn skills like sharing, making friends, empathizing with someone else’s feelings while teaching families better communication skills.
The theme of the very first episode is fear. We are living in scary times right now. Children pick up on what is going on around them even when we try our best to shelter them. Rather than trying to distract them, this podcast addresses ways to talk to children about their feelings, giving them validation and in turn, giving them comfort. There is also an episode specifically about talking to children about Coronavirus fears.
The most recent episode is about accidents. Macho Supreme, a tough space marine is the main character in this episode. His friend Scotty helps him learn that accidents happen to everyone and that it is always okay to ask for help. It also covers practicing asking for help and apologizing, both of which can be difficult.
Macho Supreme, the toughest space marine in the galaxy, is at Scotty’s door – and he can’t get out! Can he make it through the doorway and boldly go inside for a playdate? With a little help from Scotty, Macho learns that accidents happen to everyone, and that it is totally macho to ask for help. This episode also features the song Macho Man by the Village People!
I love how the fun and silly characters present common problems for kids with ways to work through them that are easy for kids to understand. It’s a great way to open up dialog between young kids and their parents and get them talking and learning how to navigate different situations that may occur in daily life.
Imagine Neighborhood comes from Committee For Children, a non-profit that has been lifting up children for 35 years. It took almost a year of planning but rolled out March 16 just in time to help frazzled families during this global pandemic. The fun-to-listen-to Imagine Neighborhood podcast series is free to download and refreshingly does not have any advertisements! You can find them on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and Stitcher, or anywhere podcasts are found.
You can find out more about Imagine Neighborhood at www.ImagineNeighborhood.org.