Social & Emotional Development

Dear Highlights Podcast: Conversations from Season 4

By: Highlights Editorial
Dear Highlights podcast logo
5 minutes to read
Ages 3+
Critical Thinking
Social Emotional

For 75 years, Highlights magazine has received thousands of letters and email from kids every year, and we answer every single one. “Dear Highlights” has always served as a way to help ease children’s concerns and help encourage them to become their best selves. In so doing, we’ve sustained an ongoing, authentic dialogue with kids that has deepened our understanding of their worries and fears, as well as their hopes and dreams. 

Our goal of the “Dear Highlights” podcast is to elevate the voices of children from these letters and help parents raise kids to be curious, creative, caring and confident.


Help! My Kid Won’t Go to School!

Few parents have heard the term “school refusal,” but many families are experiencing it. In fact, since the pandemic, it is a big problem. Missing a lot of school causes cognitive-academic, social and behavioral deficits for students. School Avoidance Alliance founder Jayne Demsky joins the podcast to help us understand what is happening, and how parents and schools can help.

Find the Helpers, Be the Helpers

Hanh Bui fled her homeland of Vietnam as a child. She remembers the challenges of arriving in a new country with new customs, language and expectations. Even more – she remembers the adults, and especially the children, who welcomed her, and who gave her the connectedness she needed to make a new home. Today a teacher, children’s author and advocate, Hanh invites us to think about how we can not just look for the helpers, but be the helpers, who make all children belong. Tune in to hear her remarkable journey.

War in Ukraine and Kids

Amanda Morgan from Save the Children joins the podcast to share what it has been like for the children of Ukraine, what Save the Children is doing to help children impacted by war and how we can help kids here in the US who are frightened by the war and its possible impacts for the world. Listen in to hear: The long-term effects of displacement and war on kids, what we can do when our kids are worried about the threat of nuclear war and how kids around the world can support the children of Ukraine. To support Save the Children’s work in the Ukraine, visit

The goal of the “Dear Highlights” podcast is to elevate the voices of children and help parents raise kids to be curious, creative, caring and confident.

Which Scary Movies Are Good for Kids?

Kids love Halloween! Scary stuff can be so fun…or it can ruin bedtime. Common Sense Media’s Editorial Director Betsy Bozdech joins the podcast to share her tips for seasonal media that is scary, but not too scary. From Hocus Pocus 2 to Zombies to podcasts, tune in for her spooky picks for kids of all ages.

Suicidal Thoughts

It may be hard to fathom, but children as young as age 8 can have suicidal thoughts, and many parents don’t know when their children are in crisis. In this Dear Highlights podcast, Christine French Cully talks with Dr. John Ackerman, a child clinical psychologist and the Suicide Prevention Coordinator for the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at Nationwide Children's Hospital (NCH) in Columbus, Ohio, about risk factors and treatments for mood disorders and suicide in children, and how to tell if your child is at risk.

A Permanent Family Road Trip?

Parents Trent and Carly Shepherd (Instagram: @shepquest) join the podcast to share more about a major lifestyle change they embarked on with their two sons – traveling the country together, learning, working, and exploring on the road. What can we learn from a family whose family time is 24/7?

Behind-the-Scenes at Highlights with CEO Kent Johnson

Highlights CEO Kent Johnson joins the podcast to answer questions from our readers, talk about why his great-grandparents founded Highlights with their retirement savings, and share what makes carrying on the mission so meaningful today.

What’s the Different Between Teasing, Bullying and Social Aggression? An Expert Weighs In

Parenting educator Jennifer Miller joins the podcast to talk about social aggression, exclusion and gossiping in elementary school. Being mean at times, and being on the receiving end of meanness, is common in childhood. In a world that isn’t always kind, how can we help children lean into the best versions of themselves? Listen to learn how adults can employ curiosity and compassion to guide kids through mean moments.

Using Data to Guide Parenting Decisions with Dr. Emily Oster

Economist Dr. Emily Oster joins the podcast to talk about how parents can use data to make better parenting decisions, and how learning to read data like an economist can save us from the whip lash of the news cycle. Listen to find out the handful of things data can tell us really matters to raising happy, healthy kids; and how to ignore the rest.

Do Kids Have Too Much Homework?

Homework researcher Dr. Harris Cooper joins the podcast to help us answer a question from Highlights reader: “What is homework for anyway?” Listen to learn how to establish positive habits and attitudes related to homework, and how homework can be fuel for the parent/school relationship.

Still want more from the Dear Highlights podcast? Try these top-rated episodes from Seasons 1-3, too:

Dear Highlights Podcast: Body Image Issues

Dear Highlights Podcast: How Do I Deal With an Anxious Child?

Dear Highlights Podcast: How to Tackle Rude Conversations and Whining

Dear Highlights Podcast: Social Media and Kids’ Privacy

Dear Highlights Podcast: Navigating Friendships and Bullying

Dear Highlights Podcast: Advice on Parenting a Child with ADHD

Dear Highlights Podcast: Helping Kids Handle Conflict Resolution


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By: Highlights Editorial