A few weeks ago, in the throes of week number I-dont-even-know of this seemingly neverending pandemic, my 6 year old son was having quite the day. He was cranky and uneasy, and his pushback was rubbing off on his personal assistant / homeschool teacher (yours truly.) I reminded myself, as I have countless times over the course of this infamous year, that the stress of these very different times affects kids just as much as it affects us grownups, and that’s totally understandable. Still, I wished for more options in my bag of tricks.
I went into my son’s room with my phone in hand and told him I learned about a new podcast that I wanted him to review. He was sitting in his bed drawing — a hobby sacred to him that normally can’t be interrupted. He didn’t say much, but agreed to listen. I sat down and played an episode called “Growing Like Wildflowers.”
The episode began with gentle music and the soothing voice of a host, who politely asked his young listeners to close their eyes and pretend they were wildflowers swaying in the breeze. And that’s when I became pretty amazed. My son put down his prized art supplies, closed his eyes, and started to sway. He swayed and listened like the most open-minded little wildflower I ever did see! And I smiled.
She often called Glenn to her room, prompting him to go through the motions familiar to most of us parents — comforting her, reassuring her, and then trying to move on. “It’s easy to say, ‘You’re safe, don’t worry,’ in those moments,” Glenn admitted. “But I sat down and started telling her about my own experiences as a child and immediately I saw her expression changed.”
The idea of parents reconnecting to our own childhood experiences is something Glenn believes helps us understand our children better. “As parents we sometimes forget what it’s like to experience those emotions as a young child.” It’s a philosophy central to one of Glenn’s biggest inspirations. “That’s what Fred Rogers did,” Glenn said of the childhood hero he and I have in common.
“Fred [Rogers] looked into the camera and saw a child as a full person, not just someone who could grow up to be something,” Glenn noted. “He respected their emotions.” We discussed the famous Tom Junod article (upon which the film A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood was based) and the advice Rogers gave to doctors working with children. “He told them, ‘You were a child once too’,” Glenn recalled. And it’s a reminder that has stuck with him throughout his podcasting work.
While children’s media is often dominated by “cute characters,” as Glenn refers to them, he is interested in reaching his audience in the same manner his idol did. “Not that there’s anything wrong with those kinds of characters,” Glenn said smiling. “But Fred connected directly with children.”
Rogers’ groundbreaking approach to television as an interactive medium for children has influenced the work of many creatives today, including Glenn. Beautiful resemblances to Mister Rogers’ trademark style can be found throughout Like You Podcast — in everything from its calm, gentle nature to its affirming title. Through a sincere, interactive style, Glenn is committed to making his podcast a safe, welcoming place for all children and all their real feelings.
As a clinician, I recall working with so many parents who doubted their children’s openness to mindfulness as a form of self-care. Glenn shared with me that he has had similar observations. “A lot of people — adults included — hear the word ‘mindfulness’ and have a certain idea about it, or a certain idea of the kind of people who do that, and they don’t relate to it,” he explained. As a parent who has seen my own son’s love for the show, I believe in the light, enjoyable way it presents this new concept to kids.
Like You approaches mindfulness through fun, engaging, age-appropriate entertainment. It presents profound social-emotional lessons in a festive package speckled with music, interactive questions, and imaginative themes. As continuity is comforting to children, the episodes all follow the same general framework, but each has a unique entertaining topic. Titles like “Cooling Your Hot Chocolate” and “Calming the Storm” offer relatable analogies for kids to understand their feelings through creative and educational make-believe. In the process, children pick up valuable lessons in self-regulation. Each episode also offers beautiful affirmations for kids to repeat to build self-esteem and encourage self-love.
Like You took off quickly and received very positive feedback early on, but its January 2020 launch may have expanded its reach during a heightened need for such a comforting show. “This year we’ve had global growth, which has been exciting to see,” Glenn shared. He hopes to see Like You continue to grow, and hopes to expand his impact into more avenues of children’s media.
Supporting children’s feelings involves many different resources. While I appreciate helpful books and TV programs, and of course conversations I have with my son, I’m personally thrilled to have found Like You to enhance his self-awareness. It’s a comforting tool he looks forward to that has given him an opportunity to explore his feelings in a new way. As parents we are expected to educate our children, but teaching them to respect themselves, embrace their uniqueness, and master the skills of emotional self-regulation are invaluable lessons that will last a lifetime. If we all start paying more attention to this, maybe — just maybe — we can make the world a better place . . . one happy kid at a time.
You can listen and subscribe to Like You podcast on Apple podcasts, learn more on their website LikeYoupodcast.com , and follow the show on Instagram at @likeyoupod