10 TED Talks Every Parent Should Watch


August 16th, 2010

By Kitty Holman

As a parent, you’re constantly trying to do what’s best for your kids, playing nurse, guidance counselor, teacher, motivational speaker all at once. No matter what you want for your child’s future, you can get inspired to make it bright from these great TED lectures. They touch on topics from personality to safety, to help you better understand your kids and better prepare and protect them for their lives ahead.


Every parent worries about getting their child a good education. These talks touch on ways you can help your own child and others learn more.

  1. Shukla Bose: Teaching one child at a time: Whether it’s the poor in India or here at home, this lecture addresses some of the challenges of educating children and may make you feel pretty lucky to have the opportunities that you do.
  2. Once Upon a School: Dave Eggers’ TED Prize wish: Does your child love to write? Learn more about the amazing project author Dave Eggers undertook that won him a TED Prize in this lecture.
  3. Michelle Obama’s plea for education: Hear what the First Lady has to say to students about taking education seriously and get inspiration that just might help your own child as well.
  4. Sir Ken Robinson: Bring on the learning revolution!: This talk promotes big changes in education, making learning a more personalized experience.
  5. Dan Meyer: Math class needs a makeover: Learn some ways that you can help your kids to better understand and remember math through this talk.
  6. Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity: This lecture will show you how you child’s school may be stifling his or her creativity, and may motivate you to find ways you can engage them at home.

Parenting Experience

These talks share experiences and lessons from parenting.

  1. What Adults Can Learn from Kids: This lecture will show you all the wonderful things your children can teach you about life, loving and laughing.
  2. Julia Sweeney has “The Talk”: Do you dread telling your kids about the birds and the bees? Comedienne Julia Sweeney tells about her experience with it in this talk.
  3. Carmen Agra Deedy spins stories: In this talk, storyteller Deedy shares stories of the interactions of parents and kids, taken from her own experience.


Having kids can be a lot work but it can be a lot of fun too. These talks delve into games, play and fun.

  1. Hillel Cooperman: Legos for grownups: Learn how those little blocks your kids love so much aren’t just for kids and can be loads of fun for adults too.
  2. David Merrill demos Siftables: This amazing talk will show you the toys of the future that can help your kids learn while they play.
  3. Stuart Brown says play is more than fun: Check out this talk to learn why play is so important for your kids’ development and why you should still seek it out as an adult.
  4. Brenda Laurel on games for girls: Find out about the development of new video games that help girls learn and play in their own way.

Psychology and Sociology

Gain a better understanding of how your child’s mind works, how you can help it develop and how to manage learning disorders from these talks.

  1. Cameron Herald: Let’s Raise Kids to Be Entrepreneurs: Whether your kids go into business or not, this lecture can give you an idea on how to prime them for success as kids and as adults.
  2. Don’t Eat the Marshmallow Yet: If you gave your child a treat would he or she eat it right away or save it? This talk discusses how a willingness for delayed gratification can predict future success.
  3. Steven Pinker chalks it up to the blank slate: Ever wonder why kids end up a certain way despite our best attempts to teach them otherwise? As Pinker explains, it might just be who they are.
  4. Temple Grandin: The world needs all kinds of minds: Temple Grandin may be autistic, but her mind works in amazing ways, allowing her to make big changes in the world. Her lecture will inspire you to support and nurture your child, whatever his or her unique abilities might be.
  5. Aditi Shankardass: A second opinion on learning disorders: If you suspect your child may have a learning disorder, discover why this researcher says doctors should be looking at their brains, not their behavior.

Health and Safety

Learn more about keeping your kids safe and healthy from these talks.

  1. Ann Cooper Talks School Lunches: If you’ve ever worried about what your kids are eating at school, check out this talk on how school lunches are changing.
  2. Steven Levitt on child carseats: Think your child’s car seat will protect him? This startling talk will show that it may not be as safe as you think.
  3. Jamie Oliver’s TED Prize wish: Teach every child about food: Jamie Oliver shares his passion for teaching kids about eating healthy at home and at school in this talk, something every parent should see.

Letting Go

At some point, every parent has to let go and let kids learn to do things on their own. These lectures talk about ways you can let kids find their own way.

  1. Gever Tulley on 5 Dangerous Things: Think you should always protect your kids for everything dangerous? This talk disagrees, laying out five things that may be dangerous but can help kids to learn.
  2. Sugata Mitra Shows How Kids Teach Themselves: You might be older and wiser, but this lecture explains how much kids stand to gain from teaching each other.
  3. Kiran Bir Sethi Teaches Kids to Take Charge: Listen to this lecture to learn about a school in India that teaches kids to take charge of their lives and their education– something all parents and educators can learn from.
  4. Gever Tulley teaches life lessons through tinkering: Kids don’t just learn from books. In this talk, you’ll hear about how kids are learning how things work by doing things with their hands and minds.

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