As sometimes overwhelmed moms with kids and spouses to care for (not to mention everything else) we want answers. We want to know how to make life easier, more enjoyable, and more fulfilling for ourselves and our families.
To that end, we watch a lot of TED talks in our family for fresh ideas and inspiration. I thought I’d share some of the best family-focused TED talks we’ve watched (and will update from time to time with new favorites too!).
While not every one of these talks will appeal to everyone in the family, there’s a little something for everyone and the messages are worth hearing. These talks will inspire, motivate, inform, and entertain… which is time well spent!
A heads-up: I can’t guarantee everyone of these is 100% kid-friendly, but since those standards differ I’ll let you judge for yourselves!
Sir Ken Robinson speaks about changing education so that it supports and nurtures all of the children’s interests, not just math and language arts. He argues that creative thinking comes from the combination of many different subject areas.
This talk is both inspiring and hugely entertaining (I kept forgetting that I was watching a TED talk and not a stand-up comedian!). I like the focus on following and nurturing a child’s interests.
Annie Paul explains many of the amazing ways that babies learn while still inside mom’s body. One of the most compelling topics she talks about is how prenatal diet teaches the baby how to develop its metabolism and other body functions for her time after birth.
As moms, we sometimes forget to take care of ourselves, but pregnancy gives us an excuse to do just that! And it’s so much more than just giving baby nutrients. What babies experience in the womb impacts many parts of their well being later in life. This talk is a good reminder to take health seriously (at any stage of pregnancy or non-pregnancy) and that babies are always learning.
Karen Thompson Walker tells an engaging story about fear and how we can use it to make better decisions. Often we are told that fear is bad and should be ignored, but Walker argues that we should instead try to read our fears like stories.
As an entrepreneur, this talk was insightful and relevant. Walker is an amazing storyteller and kept my interest from the first word to the last.
Irene Mora speaks on the highly controversial topic of women “having it all”. Mora makes the case that her own high powered, career-driven mother taught her how motherhood and a wonderful career are not mutually exclusive.
Many moms are stay-at-home moms and love it. But others crave a chance to enter the workforce without being a “bad mom”. Mora gives some insight into how career and motherhood can coexist happily (and the kids will be ok!).
We’ve all heard the tips and tricks for shaving time off of our errands and tasks each day, but Laura Vanderkam makes some counterintuitive points about time management. She says that thinking about time in this way isn’t the answer. Instead, we should consider that time is elastic and can always fit our biggest priorities.
Moms are some of the busiest people around. Many of us could use some extra time, but since that’s not possible, this talk can help use the time we do have most efficiently. This works for students, entrepreneurs, and anyone needing better time management.
Simon Sinek argues that great leaders, whether they are innovative companies or cultural revolutionaries, all think, act, and communicate in the exact same way. And the way they think, act, and communicate is the opposite from everybody else.
Sinek touches on a topic that many kids are thinking about or being told about at school — leadership. But what makes a good leader? This talk explains how to be a good leader in life and in business.
Anders Hansen explains how there is one thing that can improve almost every part of your health and brain function, including stress management. The silver bullet is exercise of course! But the real meat in this talk is why the brain is wired for exercise, which is fascinating.
Hansen explains that biologically we are still wired for the amount of exercise that hunter/gatherers and farming communities get, but we’re nowhere near that level of exercise. We know that exercise is important, so understanding this concept is a great way for older kids (and adults) to embrace exercise.
Adam Carroll tells the story of a real-life Monopoly game. When he found that his kids weren’t playing by the rules, he wondered if it was because the money wasn’t real. So he grabbed some cash and played with real money. Carroll touches on the concept of financial abstraction — the idea that money is an abstract concept and not a tangible thing. He then lays out the questions that inevitably come up. Will kids learn about money in a digital wallet kind of world?
This story is fun to listen to but is also an important topic for parents of kids growing up in the digital world. With ballooning student loan debt, it’s obvious that young people don’t totally grasp the tangibility of money.
Arthur Benjamin presents math in a fun and energetic way in this talk. He races (and beats) calculators in figuring out the square of 3 digit numbers. Then he shows you how he does it.
This talk is so fun to watch! Benjamin is full of energy, funny, and engaging. This talk is especially great for kids who are interested in math but it’s entertaining for just about anyone at any age.
Heather Chauvin asks, “How far would you expect a car to go on an empty tank of gas?” The answer is of course, not far. But she continues to ask, why we as moms expect to go miles when our own tank is empty.
Bonus: I got to chat with Heather on the Wellness Mama Podcast, so if you love her message take a listen to our interview! (She even has some great suggestions about how to manage tantrums… a topic I hope to write more about soon.)
Chauvin’s talk is inspiring and motivating. As moms, we put our kids, spouses, homes, jobs, etc before our own basic needs. She challenges us to put ourselves first (or at least on the list!) and pursue joy in life, not just survival. I know many moms (including myself) have felt like we’re in never-ending survival mode. This talk may help get out of it.
Please help me add to the list! What are your favorite family-friendly TED talks? I’m always looking for fresh inspiration!