9 TED Talks for Future Parents

Looking for some top-notch parenting advice? From intriguing info on car seats to why it's important to slow down and enjoy parenthood there's a TED talk for that.

9 TED Talks for Future Parents TED/YouTube

When you're expecting, advice comes at you from all directions. Everyone from your (well-intentioned) mom to the (maybe not-so well-intentioned) woman in the grocery store has a drop no make that a downpour of wisdom to share with you. Yep, we've been there. But not all advice is worthy of a serious eye roll. TED talks, those fascinating presentations feeding dinner party conversations the world over, are also a great source for parenthood pointers, presented in a format even the most information-overloaded mom-to-be can appreciate (we'll forgive them for their recent run-in with a nursing mom). Here, our 9 favorite TED topics. Watch these clips and feel your confidence rising.

On making your child happy

The talk: "For parents, happiness is a very high bar," by Jennifer Senior, author of All Joy and No Fun

Why you should watch: It's the mantra of moms everywhere, I want my kid to be happy. But in her talk, Senior points out that many parents don't really know what giving their child happiness actually means. And in the quest for that ever-elusive concept, parents often find themselves overly anxious, panicked and missing out on the exciting joys of parenthood. Senior's discussion is enlightening and the kind of message that will have you taking a deep breath of relief when you're done listening.

Best quote: "In the absence of having new scripts, just follow the oldest ones in the book decency, a work ethic, love and let happiness and self-esteem take care of themselves. I think if we all did that, the kids would still be all right, and so would their parents."

On car seat safety

The talk: "Surprising stats about car seats," by Steven Levitt, economist and author of Freakonomics

Why you should watch: Safety is the Holy Grail of priorities for parents, so it's no surprise that they spend countless hours obsessing over which car seat to choose. Is it safe enough? Do I need a load leg? Has it been rigorously tested for side-impact crashes? Before you have a breakdown in the baby gear aisle, listen to this fascinating 19-minute talk by famed economist, Steven Levitt. He breaks down the reality about car seat safety”and the info he shares is both jaw-dropping and interesting.

Best quote: "It's not just that people are setting up their car seats wrong, which is putting children at risk. It's just that, fundamentally, car seats aren't doing that much."

On slowing down a little

The talk: "In praise of slowness," by Carl Honore, author of Praise of Slowness

Why you should watch: We live in a time where "even instant gratification takes too long," which can cause you to miss out on those small, beautiful parenting moments because of the hustle of life. Honore's speech is aimed at "finding your inner tortoise" in general, but his wise insights are something every parent can benefit from before entering into the crazy-wild haze of new babyhood.

Best quote: "Conventional wisdom tells you that if you slow down, you're road kill, the opposite turns out to be true: that by slowing down at the right moments, people find that they do everything better."

On making memories

The talk: "A father-daughter bond, one photo at a time," by Steven Addis, a photographer

Why you should watch: Creating traditions and rituals with your baby is one of the awesome things about becoming a mom. And sure, it's fun but you'll truly see the value in doing those things when listening to Addis' talk about a series of photos he took with his daughter on the same street corner over the course of 15 years.

Best quote: "One of the most important things we all make are memories. I want to share the idea of taking an active role in consciously creating memories. I don't know about you, but...I'm not in many of the family photos...I want to encourage everyone today to get in the shot."

On challenging times

The talk: "In our baby's illness, a life lesson," by Roberto D'Angelo and Francesca Fedeli, creators of the nonprofit, Fight the Stroke

Why you should watch: It's just over six minutes long, but this speech by D'Angelo and Fedeli, parents of a little boy who suffered a stroke, is empowering and will have you feeling like as a mom you can truly handle anything that comes your way.

Best quote: "Consider what you have as a gift and not only what you miss, and to consider what you miss just as an opportunity."

On unconditional love

The talk: "Love, no matter what," by writer Andrew Solomon

Why you should watch: Here's an interesting concept—as a parent you love your child unconditionally, but do you accept them unconditionally? Solomon talks about parenthood through the lens of raising a child that you don't understand and is radically different than you. Cue this up when you're ready for a bit of parenting philosophizing.

Best quote: "The love you have for your children is unlike any other feeling in the world, and until you have children, you don't know what it feels like."

On going green

The talk: "The toxic baby," by Tyrone Hayes, scientist, and Penelope Jagessar Chaffer, filmmaker

Why you should watch: When Jagessar Chaffer was pregnant with her first child, she started thinking about the chemicals her unborn child was exposed to. She tapped Hayes, a scientist who studied the impact of chemicals on frogs (yep, frogs), and the two gave a fascinating expose on contaminants. The truth: While this talk is a big eye opener, the info is on the heavier side. Worry warts, you've been warned.

Best quote: "When we think about environmental issues [it's important] that we remember that it's not just about melting glaciers and ice caps, but it's also about our children as well."

On parenting taboos

The talk: "Let's talk parenting taboos," by Rufus Griscom and Alisa Volkman, co-founders of babble.com

Why you should watch: This husband-and-wife duo has hilarious parenting advice in spades. They tell you what your friends with kids want to say but are too shy to (hint: you might not fall in love with your baby in the first minute)—and they'll have you belly laughing all along the way.

Best quote: "It's our hope that by being more honest and candid about these [parenting] experiences, that we can all collectively bend that happiness baseline up a little bit."

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On why babies are (sort of) smarter than us

The talk: "The surprisingly logical minds of babies," by Laura Schulz, a cognitive scientist

Why you should watch: Have you ever stopped to think about how babies learn so much so quickly? They learn a whole new world in a matter of months. In this intriguing talk, Schulz shows how your babe will be able to make decisions using logic before they can even say "mama."

Best quote: "15-month-old babies, in this respect, like scientists, care whether evidence is randomly sampled or not, and they use this to develop expectations about the world: what squeaks and what doesn't, what to explore and what to ignore."

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