One of my favorite things ever is watching TED talks. There’s just something magical almost magical about hearing these wonderful experiences from these wonderful experts! When I became a mom I was trying to gather everything I had learned by watching these talks, and I slowly build my list of must-watch TED talks for parents that aren’t about parenting.
Because there’s so much that you can put to practice when raising your child in these talks. If you focus only on the TED talks for parents, you’ll lose valuable insight into all areas of life that you can teach your children.
I usually browse for specific topics (like creativity), and take it from there! (You can see my favorite topics at the end of this post.)
Here are my top 10 TED talks for parents that aren’t about parenting, plus a bonus talk about parenting that most people skip but I think it’s too valuable to ignore!
#1 Where Joy Hides and Where to Find It – By Ingrid Fetell Lee
One of my favorite TED talks for parents ever!
Ingrid Fetell Lee studies what physical aspects of life bring people joy. And why.
This is super interesting and is full of tips to grab to improve our children’s quality of living, my top three are:
- In schools painted with bright colors, the attendance increased, and the attention improved.
- People who are surrounded by circles, rainbows, and bright colors live happier!
- Angular shapes trigger the same response in humans as stress does!
Here’s the complete talk, I’m sure it’ll put a smile in your face and get your mind racing with ideas to make your children’s world more round and colorful!
#2 Embrace the Shake – Phil Hansen
Artist Phil Hansen explores the ins and outs of creativity after he had to quit being an artist for a few years because of a permanent nerve damage that made his hand shake uncontrollably!
This is a wonderful insight into creativity and the part that limitations play in the whole creative process.
My top two takeaways are:
- “Embracing a limitation could actually enhance creativity.”
- Having too many options can create a creativity paralysis.
#3 Can You Really Tell If a Child is Lying – Kang Lee
I love this video. Kang Lee has studied the science of lying, and he says that:
- All children lie.
- Lying is a major milestone for kids. Since they need to control their emotions and understand the social premise of lying: That I know that you don’t know what I know! (It’s easier to understand when you hear it from him :))
- He also puts two videos and asks you to identify which kid is lying. I completely failed the test!
#4 Comics belong in the classroom – By Gene Luen Yang
Gene Luen Yuang, a comic fan and teacher explores the power of comics as an educational tool.
This video has an amazing educational lesson, and is definitely one of my top 10 TED talks for parents that aren’t about parenting!
Here’s the key takeaway:
- Children don’t learn at the same speed, so when reading a comic they can see the past, present, and future and understand the content at their own rhythm!
#5 How Great Leaders Inspire Action – by Simon Sinek
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” It’s the key line in Simon Sinek’s master TED talk.
This is a video for entrepreneurs, employees, citizens, but it’s also one of my must-watch TED talks for parents. Why? Because as parents we are leaders, and we are raising future leaders.
So we have to inspire our children to behave, and learn, and eat their food, and do whatever they need to do. And the best way to inspire them is to learn from the best!
Here are my key takeaways:
- Always start with “why” you want something done.
- After the “why”, proceed with the “how.”
- And then, if you have time, talk about the “what.”
- Set your core values from the start and stick with them, these will be your core “why’s”
#6 How Language Shapes the Way We Think – Lera Boroditsky
This more-than-interesting TED-talk shows us how the language you speak shapes the way you think.
A great and simple example is that the word “bridge” is masculine in Spanish, and feminine in German. So, most probably, a Spanish-speaking person describes a bridge using words like “solid”, and “strong”, while a German-speaking person describes it as “elegant”, and “beautiful.”
Now, this must seem irrelevant at first sight, but to me it is mighty. Why? Because I believe in the power of learning languages to broaden your horizons.
My son is being raised in a bilingual household by choice. I speak in English with him, while my husband speaks in Spanish. I, myself, was raised learning languages, and speak Spanish, English, French, and Japanese. And I have always been amazed by the core differences in these languages and the way that societies tend to culturally build around them.
As soon as my son can speak both Spanish and English, he’ll start a third language, and then a fourth. Unless, of course, he doesn’t want to.
And, take it from someone who started learning languages from a young age, learning a new language is like becoming a new person. And, with each new language we learn, we expand our culture and our possibilities.
#7 How To Stay Calm When You Know You’ll Be Stressed – By Daniel Levitin
Have you ever had to feed a crying toddler, while dragging your other child to the seat, and splattered all the food down your favorite shirt?
You need to see this talk by a neuroscientist. He gives us a few tools to handle stress by thinking things thoroughly beforehand.
The key takeaways from this talk are:
- Stress clouds your thinking, and you don’t know your thinking is cloudy because your thinking is cloudy.
- Prospective blindsight (pre-mortem) is thinking about the things that could go wrong, and thinking of ways to fix that (before your brain gets cloudy with stress.)
- Do things like: Designate a place for all the things that can get easily lost.
Things I usually do as prospective blindsight when it comes to my toddler are:
- Always carry two pants, two pairs of underwear, and two shirts. Everywhere I go.
- I have an out-of-reach place specifically for toys that need adult supervision.
- I always have my purse ready and next to the entrance of the home in case we need to rush out (which is how we mainly go out these days.)
- We always keep a small toy or a book in every area of the house.
- I always keep a bottle of water in my purse.
- I always keep a small firs-aid-kit in my purse and a big one at home.
#8 Do Schools Kill Creativity – by Sir Ken Robinson
This amazing talk about education starts with saying that everybody has an interest in education.
I don’t know about everybody, but at least us parents have a big interest in education. And education basically needs to prepare for the uncertainty of the future. In other words, we are educating our children for a future world that we have no idea what it’s going to be.
Which is why creativity should be treated seriously, and as a core part of our education system.
- Kids aren’t afraid of being wrong. They take a chance.
- If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you won’t create anything original.
- We are educating people out of their creative capacities.
- Intelligence is diverse, dynamic, and distinct.
- Our task as parents is to educate our children’s whole being.
#9 Three Ways to Make Better Decisions, by Thinking Like a Computer – by Tom Griffiths
From choosing a restaurant to cleaning your wardrobe. Making decisions is a big part of parenthood! This is one of my TED talks for parents because it simplifies the whole process.
- Applying a little bit of computer science can make decision making easier.
- Simplify decision making by looking at them logically.
- Relax and go easy on yourself every time you’re trying to make a decision.
- When computer solves hard problems, they break them into simpler problems.
- You can’t control outcomes, just processes.
#10 How Boredom Can Lead to Your Most Brilliant Ideas – by Manoush Zomorodi
For adult and children alike, boredom is a necessary state for creativity, and Manoush Zomordi puts it brilliantly in this video.
I recently wrote an article for Imperfectly Perfect Mama titled 8 Surprising Ways to Raise Creative Toddlers. And, the first one is simple: Embrace Boredom.
Being bored is a powerful state of the mind. It activates a part of our brain dedicated to problem-solving while still keeping us conscious. Have you ever wondered why we get so many great ideas while taking a shower?
Yup. It’s because we are bored and we let our mind wander.
I believe that this is a must-watch TED talk for parents because it’s two levels deep:
- If we let our minds wander it will spark our creativity, and
- Phone addiction has eliminated those necessary gaps in which we used to do nothing. For instance, I usually cook while watching Netflix.
Creativity is not only important for children, but for us parents as well. Raising kids of any age while using our creative potential will result in more positive solutions to our problems. And it will benefit our children.
Bonus: The nightmare videos of children’s’ YouTube — and what’s wrong with the internet today – by James Bridle
Ok, this one is about parenting… to some extent. But I think it’s a must-watch. That’s all I’ll say, since James Bridle says it all!
That’s a Wrap
In general, I usually like to browse the following topics when looking for TED talks for parents that aren’t about parenting:
- Creativity (But you guessed this one already, didn’t you?)
- Thought Process
What about you? What’s your favorite TED talk for parents? Share it with us in the comments below!