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10 Surprising Ways the Internet Can Help Parents

Mighty Mommy is a firm believer in taking advantage of any tools that can help enrich our parenting life and shares ten ways the internet can help make it better.

By
Cheryl Butler,
April 17, 2016
Episode #374

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I’ve been a mom for over two decades now, and looking back to 1993 when I held my first newborn in my arms (my heart still beats fast just remembering that moment!), I can’t believe how much has changed in the world of parenting resources. I remember having access to some tried and true baby books, What to Expect the First Year, which was practically my new baby bible, and subscriptions to some reputable parenting magazines. But most of what I learned came from reaching out to my own mom for advice, leaning on my pediatrician and picking my friends’ brains who had become moms before me.

Since I was a young girl, reading has been one of my favorite pastimes and passions. I could lose myself in a book for hours on end, and still can, but as a very busy mom of eight kids, I also appreciate learning and being entertained in other ways. Thanks to the internet, I have access to hundreds and hundreds of helpful and interesting videos and other computer-related resources, yet, as primitive as it may sound, when I joined the prestigious ranks of motherhood, the internet and all its gifts had literally not been born yet. 

Whether you’re a stay-at-home parent who is juggling home and family 24/7 or embedded full-time in the workforce, if we embrace the World Wide Web, we can definitely take our parenting skills to new heights. Mighty Mommy is a firm believer in taking advantage of any tools that can help enrich our parenting life and enthusiastically shares ten ways the internet can help make it better.

#1: Find Educational Sources  

Find educational resources, (for yourself and your kids) including up-to-the minute news, copies of important documents and photos, and collections of research information on topics ranging from the latest in political races to interesting geography facts about your own town. One such place that houses hundreds of educational videos and articles is Big Think, an internet forum that features interviews, multimedia presentations, and roundtable discussions with speakers from a range of fields. Also check out a great collection of podcasts and columns by QDT's Everyday Einstein and The Math Dude

#2: Take Free Online Classes

I worked in a dental practice for nearly 20 years and one of the requirements to keep our licenses up-to-date was to take continuing education courses throughout the year.  As a busy parent, it can be a challenge to find a way to leave your kids or job for a day to take a class, but thanks to the internet, we now have access to online parenting classes as well as a host of other topics that might interest you such as photography, writing, or gourmet cooking.  A few of my favorite online classes resources are Khan Academy, which offers more than 3,000 videos on subjects ranging from SAT prep to event planning. Detailed courses are broken into smaller sections of text or videos for ease of learning that fits into your schedule, and all are self-paced so you can spend as much or as little time with the subject as you like, and another reason Khan is a great resource—it's free!  Another inspiring favorite of mine are TED talks, which are a legendary source of information on all sorts of topics, and any discussion of how to educate yourself for free online needs to include watching them. There are now thousands of videos on all sorts of topics available on the site.  

#3: Tune Into YouTube

One of my favorite “go to” places on the internet is YouTube.  Launched in May 2005, YouTube allows billions of people to discover, watch and share originally-created videos. YouTube provides a forum for people to connect, inform, and inspire others across the globe. You can find everything from teaching your child how to ride a bike, to learning how to artfully organize your homes bookcases by searching for it on YouTube.  And one of YouTube’s informative parenting series shares all the ins and outs of caring for your newborn.  Best part is, if you need to have something repeated a few times, you simply click on the stop button, rewind, and watch it all over again.  See Also:  5 Tips for Bringing Newborn Baby Home

#4: Listen to Podcasts

As the host of the Quick and Dirty tips Mighty Mommy podcast, I would be totally remiss if I didn’t give an enthusiastic endorsement of how valuable podcasts can be in relation to our multi-faceted lives. There are literally podcasts on every topic from A to Z, and with the help of your favorite search engine, all you have to do is type in the topic you’re interested in, such as parenting podcasts or money management, and you’ll instantly have dozens of fresh, informative choices available. For a fun and informative history podcast, check out Unknown History with host and best -selling author, Giles Milton, where you'll learn some surprising, quirky and remarkable tales from the past.

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