Former Shows & Episodes

Parenting With Playdate Planet

Meryl Neiman

Parenting With Playdate Planet – The Funny Truth About Parenting

On this week’s show, two very funny moms and I take a look at parenting behind the scenes: what most of us are really thinking and feeling as we spend our days wiping noses and checking for ear wax.

Karen Bergreen is a stand-up comic who you may have seen on Comedy Central or at one of the comedy clubs in New York City. As a married mom of two boys and a couple of hermit crabs, she turned to writing as a means of cutting back on travel time. She’s now published two entertaining comic mysteries: Following Polly and her latest, Perfect is Overrated, about a former assistant DA who finally snaps out of her postpartum depression when mothers of her daughter’s pre-school classmates start getting knocked off.

Jenna McCarthy is an internationally published writer whose work has appeared in more than fifty magazines, on dozens of websites, and in several anthologies. She’s very funny, she’s given a TED talk, and on top of that, she’s the author of several books that highlight her honest and humorous take on life, including The Parent Trip: From High Heels and Parties to Highchairs and Potties and her most recent, If It Was Easy They’d Call the Whole Damn Thing a Honeymoon: Living With and Loving the TV-Addicted, Sex-Obsessed, Not-So-Handy Man You Married.

If these ladies sound like fun, they are! So make sure to tune in to hear their hilarious take on being a mom, and then check out their websites to read more. As usual, I will be blogging about this topic and sharing my humorous parenting moments at Playdate Planet’s Blog.

Hope to see you there!

Parenting With Playdate Planet – Will Your Child Be Ready to Compete in Our New Global Economy?

If you are going to listen to just one of my shows, this may be the one. On this week’s episode, I talk with author and educator, Tony Wagner, and entrepreneur and documentary filmmaker, Robert Compton, about the disconnect between what our kids are learning in schools and what they should be learning to be competitive in our new innovative, global economy. If our education system isn’t instilling the creativity, passion, problem-solving, entrepreneurial spirit that our children will need, then what should we be doing as parents to help them gain those skills? Tony and Bob have travelled the world to explore what other countries are doing, and interviewed young innovators and cutting edge businesses to answer this question. You won’t want to miss our conversation. To learn more about their project, purchase Tony’s book, CREATING INNOVATORS: THE MAKING OF YOUNG PEOPLE WHO WILL CHANGE THE WORLD, and watch Bob’s video interviews, head on over to

Parenting With Playdate Planet – All You Need to Know About Playdates!

Vacation time is almost upon us. If you have children in school, pre-school, or day care, that can mean a lot of days off for them and a lot of time to fill you for you! Scheduling a few playdates may be your answer. On this week’s show, Multiple Mayhem Mamma Samantha Kemp-Jackson and I exchange our best strategies for handling all things playdate related. We cover everything from what questions to ask before you drop off your precious child to how to handle a misbehaving guest. After listening in, If you’re inspired to start planning some playdates, head on over and discover the future of playdate planning at my free site Playdate Planet. Once you experience the easy way to plan playdates, I promise your child won’t be without a playdate and you won’t have to waste time scheduling them, ever again! If you want more great playdate tips from Sam, or want to read the rest of her wonderful book of practical parenting advice, check out her ebook Meltdown in Aisle 5: Top Parenting Tips From Multiple Mayhem Mamma. It has the best of all her blog content and is an affordable, easy read.

What are some of your favorite playdate tips? Send me an e-mail at

Parenting With Playdate Planet – Do Moms Discriminate Against Stay At Home Dads?

This week’s show explores what it’s like to be the odd man out. Literally. I talk with TV producer and writer, now also stay at home dad, David Wallach, about his experience as a minority in a world of mostly moms. You won’t want to miss this funny and eye opening look at what may be the newest playground wars. After listening to the show, you can learn more about David and follow his fathering adventures at his blog, Dad All Day.

Parenting With Playdate Planet – Toys as Learning Tools

Want your child to learn to think like an engineer? Want your couch potato kid to get moving? How about helping your reluctant reader get engaged with words? Want to accomplish this while having fun with your children? On this week’s show, we discuss how to use toys and goals to accomplish these goals and more. My guest, Jenn Choi, is the toy reviewer behind ToysAreTools. She works with child development experts and other specialists, as well as children testers, to find toys and games that kids love and that can serve as teaching toys. You’ll learn what some of her family’s favorites are, and how you can use these toys and games to work on important skills at home.

If you want to test drive a whole lot of toys in person, I hope you will join me at the Chicago Toy and Game Fair on November 23 and 24. We will be hosting the World’s Largest Playdate and attempting to set a Guinness World Record for the most participants in a clapping game. Over 300 people have already pre-registered for this event and we would love to see you there as well!

Parenting With Playdate Planet – What’s New in Toys and Games for the Holiday Season and 2014

Get ready for the holiday season and a whole new year of play by hearing from several powerhouses in the business of play about what is hot in toys and games for kids. My guests on this week’s very fun episode are: Mary Couzin, CEO and founder of the Chicago Toy and Game Group, which includes the Chicago Toy & Game Fair (“ChiTag”), the largest public toy and game fair in the country; Reyne Rice, the leading toy trends expert and commentator; and Traci Paige Johnson, co-creator of Nickelodeon’s Blues Clues and Super Why and the creative visionary behind her latest endeavor Yummico, a new children’s media company. If you listen in, you will learn about all the excitement happening at this month’s ChiTag as well as what toys you need to stock up on now before the holiday rush. If you are in the Chicago area, or are one of the thousands heading to Chicago over the weekend before Thanksgiving, please visit me at the Playdate Planet Booth and sign up now to participate in the World’s Largest Playdate and help us set a Guinness World’s Record. The first 300 registered child attendees will go home with a toy filled tote bag so you’ll want to make sure you sign up early!

Parenting With Playdate Planet – Get The Inside Scoop on Blogging From Scary Mommy Jill Smokler and BlogHer CEO Lisa Stone

Hundreds of millions of people follow blogs written by parents just like you. Have you thought about blogging yourself, but don’t know how to begin? Do you read blogs and want the inside scoop about what is going on in the blogging industry? Or perhaps you’re just a fan of Scary Mommy, one of the most popular mom bloggers on the Net. If so, then this show is sure to end up one of your favorites. On this week’s episode, I talk with Lisa Stone, the co-founder and CEO of BlogHer, a hugely successful blogging community and social publisher, about how women have taken to blogging to get their voices heard and profit financially. The show also includes my super fun conversation with New York Times best-selling author, Jill Smokler aka Scary Mommy, known for her frequently hilarious, and always honest, take on motherhood.

After you listen to the show, you will want to head over to BlogHer and enjoy the amazing and diverse collection of voices represented on that platform. It’s also a great place to start if you want to try your hand at blogging. And don’t forget to visit Scary Mommy to catch up on Jill’s latest blog posts, read more about her books (they make great holiday and baby shower gifts!), and participate in her Thanksgiving charity drive.

Parenting With Playdate Planet – A Musical Conversation With Singer-Songwriter Laurie Berkner – her kickstarter campaign ends October 28, 2013!

The New York Times said of my guest this week, that “she is bigger than Justin Bieber, if you happen to be four or five,” and People Magazine calls her “the queen of kids’ music.” If you are a parent of young children, and you haven’t heard of Laurie Berkner, you’ll want to listen to this week’s show to find out what makes her so special and hear her sing some of her music, both old and new. If you already are a Laurie Berkner fan, then you know you are in for a special treat. During our conversation, you’ll learn about Laurie’s creative process, her new projects on television and on stage, and how you can participate in the launch of her new lullaby album by visiting her Kickstarter campaign. The campaign ends Monday, October 28, so make sure to head over there right away to join in the fun.

What did you think of this week’s show? Do you have ideas for future show topics or guests? Please let me know at

Parenting With Playdate Planet – Can We Use Technology to Reinvigorate Education?

Our country’s drop-out rate is appalling and our students are performing well below those in many other countries. Many kids are distracted from schooling by the constant allure of their cell phones, video games, television, and the Internet so how can schools compete? Maybe instead of trying to distract kids from all this technology, we would be best served by using gaming principles and game designing itself to get kids re-engaged. My guest on this week’s show, Nikki Nava, is the CEO of Zulama, a game based learning platform that she developed with faculty at Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center to give schools a way to teach critical programming, art, and design skills at the middle and high school levels. In our fascinating conversation, you’ll hear why learning how to make their own games may be a way to excite children about education and teach them those soft skills of collaboration, creativity, and problem-solving that they need for career success. Nikki also shares resources that parents can use at home to introduce game design to their children. You can visit the Zulama website to hear from educators and students about why the program works and learn more about how to get your school connected. If you want to learn more about what the leaders in education, technology, and gaming have to say or watch the work that kids are producing, check out Zulama’s You Tube Channel.

Parenting With Playdate Planet – Want to Raise a Smarter Child?

As parents, we all look for and take joy in our child’s important “firsts” – first word, first time rolling over, first time sitting up unattended, first steps . . . But although these noted benchmarks are significant and memorable, there are lots of other small developmental milestones that may be even more important indicators of whether our baby is on track towards success. The key is knowing what these are and how we can help our children attain and surpass these milestones. On this week’s show, I talk about raising a smarter and healthier child with positive parenting expert and speech-language pathologist Katherine Gruhn. After working for years with parents, school personnel, and other medical team members, Katherine realized that there was no resource that provided an easy check-list of milestones by age that parents and others could use to assess child development. So she created My Baby Compass, a comprehensive program that offers those checklists as well as age appropriate activities that parents can do with their children to help them reach these critical milestones.

On this week’s show, you’ll learn:

why the 0 – 7 age range is the most critical time for impacting your child’s development
the key developmental milestones parents should be looking for by age
what Katherine means by the “30 million word gap” and why that is so important for you as a parent to understand
how parents can determine when intervention is warranted
the problem with programs like Baby Einstein and academic pre-schools; and
why language development is so crucial and what parents can do to promote that development