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Need Parenting Advice?

Welcome to the Parenting Pickup Podcast. With over 50 years of experience in early child care and education, we're here to share all things child-related. Every episode is designed for families' education and support from parenting tips and tricks, trending topics, fun activities, child development, and so much more! Special guests in early childhood and education will join our host Cara, share their expertise, and help answer some of the most challenging questions.

Stream Latest Episodes


Episode 1: Meltdowns

Children of all ages have meltdowns. There is no surprise there. But, many parents aren’t sure how to help their children when they have a tantrum or a meltdown. We sat down with Kate Wessinger, an expert on behavior and mental health, to give up beneficial advice.

Episode 2: New Siblings

Amanda Mason, New Horizon Academy’s Mental Health Specialist, talks about the steps to take to get your child ready for a new sibling and what to do once the new addition has made its appearance.

Episode 3: Conscious Discipline

Jessi Grittner, a Conscious Discipline Coordinator, shares how teachers, parents, and children can utilize conscious discipline every day to better understand the brain stages, feelings, communication, and intelligence through a self-regulation program that involves social and emotional learning and discipline.

Episode 4: Raising Caring Children

MiaLisa from ‘Doing Good Together‘ explains how important it is to instill caring and kindness in your child as character traits and values. She provides crucial facts, tips, and shares helpful resources on how to raise children to be kind.

Episode 5: Picky Eaters

We met with Jill Weldon, New Horizon Academy’s food and nutrition expert, to talk about one of the most asked questions, how to help children who are selective eaters. Resources mentioned include My Plate and Solid Starts.

Episode 6: Biting

It happens in every family. Your child bites, has been bitten, or both! So, what do you do? Kate Wessinger, our Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist, dives into why biting is happening, how to prevent it, and what to do.

Episode 7: Kindergarten Readiness

You want to ensure your children are ready for kindergarten regarding academic, social, and emotional skills. We chatted with Bev Bauman, New Horizon Academy’s Vice President of Staff Development and Education, about the different skill sets children should or are expected to have before they start kindergarten.

Here are 5 Activities to Promote Kindergarten Readiness.

Episode 8: Building Cultural Awareness

Thuba Nguyen is an early childhood education advocate and teacher who is passionate about celebrating cultural diversity and multi-culturism and is the author of the book My Daddy Tells Me. Her children’s book is about a life-changing love between fathers and daughters, immigration, self-esteem, and positive affirmations.

With over twelve years of experience in the field, Thuba talks about how vital it is to have multiracial representation in all creative markets and education. Her work inspires future generations to break cycles of intergenerational trauma and oppression.

More resources can be found here.

Episode 9: Early Childhood Milestones

In this episode of New Horizon Academy’s Parenting Pickup Podcast, Anna Paulson, current Program Coordinator for Help Me Grow, a licensed teacher in the areas of Deaf/Hard of Hearing and Elementary Education, and a certified Early Childhood Education advocate, talks about helpful information and practical steps to take for families to understand and support your child’s early childhood development.

Resources mentioned in the podcast include: Help Me Grow, Learn the Signs – Act Early, CDC’s Milestone Tracker App, Help Me Connect, and Reach Out and Read.

Episode 1: Hitting

Getting hit by your child or having your child hit others can be embarrassing and infuriating. Many families worry that their child’s aggression toward them and others is a bad sign and reflects on their parenting. But, what Amanda Mason explains, it’s all about how you react to the hitting and what you do moving forward that makes the difference.

Episode 2: Listening

Being distracted while your child is talking to you can be a big problem when communicating. We have all been there, listening while holding a phone or not making eye contact. MiaLisa from Doing Good Together is a special guest on this episode to talk about how and why it is critical to be listening fully.

More listening resources can be found here: Doing Good Together, Power of Listening, Making Room to Listen

Episode 3: Importance of Play

Most families are unaware that unstructured play is significant for children. Play fosters cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development. More specifically, it helps creativity, imagination, problem-solving, and social skills! Sara Reichstadt from Kinderberry Hill discusses why children must explore, create and discover without predetermined rules or guidelines.

Explore additional resources: Why Play is Important, Kinderberry Hill Website

Episode 4: The Bilingual Advantage

In this episode, we talk to Theresa Gunderson, owner and language learning expert at O’Neill Language Academy, about the importance of early learning of a second language. Theresa discusses the many benefits of bilingualism, including improved cognitive function, academic success, and career opportunities. She also shares tips on best supporting your child’s language learning journey. Theresa Gunderson is a language learning expert with over 20 years of experience. Theresa is passionate about helping people learn new languages and believes that bilingualism is a valuable asset for everyone.

Explore additional resources: O’Neill Language Academy, Lesson Books

Episode 5: Potty Mastery

Potty training can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! In this podcast episode, we discuss potty training your child with Steph Schmidt, a New Horizon Academy District Curriculum Coordinator. We’ll cover everything from introducing the potty to dealing with accidents.

Whether you’re just starting the training process or feeling stuck, we’ve got you covered. Join us on this journey and learn how to master potty training with ease!

Explore additional resources: Conscious Discipline Podcast Episode, Potty Training Tips

Episode 6: How to Help Children with Grief

We brought back a special guest, Kate Wessinger, New Horizon Academy’s Mental Health Specialist, to share her wealth of knowledge and expertise on the importance of open and honest communication with grieving children.

Throughout the episode, she offers practical tips on creating a safe space for children to express their emotions, understand the concept of death, and navigate the stages of grief. She also discusses age-appropriate ways to help children memorialize and remember their loved ones, fostering resilience and emotional healing during grieving.

Explore additional resources: Resilience Trauma and the Brain with Doctor Bruce Perry, How to Talk to Your Children During Uncertain Times

Episode 7: Pediatric Oral Health

In this insightful podcast episode, we are all treated to a wealth of knowledge on pediatric oral health with an engaging conversation with Dr. Matt Scribbins from Maple Grove Pediatric Dentistry, a seasoned dentist with a passion for children’s dental care.

Dr. Scribbins shares his expertise on age-appropriate oral hygiene practices, the importance of regular dental check-ups, and common challenges faced in pediatric dental care. Followers can expect to gain valuable insights that empower them to prioritize and safeguard the oral health of their young ones.

Dr. Scribbins’ enthusiasm for his field shines through, making this podcast episode informative and engaging for anyone interested in ensuring the well-being of children’s smiles.

Episode 8: Benefits of Music

On this episode of Parenting Pickup, we are grateful to talk to our partner at MacPhail Center for Music, Dianna Babcock, Director of Sing Play Learn, to learn why music is essential in a child’s life. Dianna talks about the programs’ mission for each child’s specific stage of development.

With each class, children are encouraged to explore musical concepts and experiment with new instruments, which helps develop school-readiness skills in an active learning environment that feels like playtime!

Visit MacPhail’s website.

Episode 1: Raising Inclusive Children

In our Season 3 premiere, we join Dianne Haulcy, the host of Minnesota Public Radio’s Early Riser’s podcast, and CEO of The Family Partnership, a non-profit organization that provides holistic structures and resources for families and children within cycles of poverty. Dianne explores ways in which early childhood is an essential period of life to educate our young ones about racism, bias, culture, diversity, and inclusion.

Explore additional resources: Teaching Anti-Racism, Children Are Not Colorblind: How Young Children Learn About Race

Episode 2: Quality Screen Time

Nowadays, it can be difficult to get away from screens. With the abundance of mobile phones, TVs at restaurants, and the use of tablets and computers in schools, it’s more important than ever that we make sure what our children are watching on screens is age-appropriate. To give us some guidance, Momo Hayakawa, Director and Development Researcher at Twin Cities PBS and TPT, joins us to discuss what quality screen time can look like for kids. Momo shares her expertise on the connections between screen time and children’s behavior, how to assess to age-appropriateness of media content, and much more!

Explore additional resources: PBS Kids, Age-Based Media Reviews for Families, Foregrounding Equity and Representation in Children’s Media, Joan Ganz Cooney Center

Cara Johnson-Bader

Cara Johnson-Bader


Cara Johnson-Bader is the Vice President of Marketing and Parent Experiences at New Horizon Academy. She is the mother of two incredible and full of energy boys—Ben and Will. When not attending her sons’ snowboarding, skiing, and baseball sporting events, she can be found playing board games and reading with her boys. As one of the hosts of Parenting Pickup, she is excited to share helpful hints, tricks, and advice to help parents as the navigate the child-rearing journey.

Jonah Castañeda Barry

Jonah Castañeda Barry


Jonah Castañeda Barry is the Multimedia Marketing Specialist and Podcast Producer at New Horizon Academy. He is a filmmaker/lover, a photographer, and a semi-pro runner (meaning he occasionally makes a couple bucks to spend on more running gear and film equipment). He loves to involve himself with Twin Cities community activism, run clubs, and the local music scene. He is strongly motivated by digging deeper into fundamental questions about human behavior and believes that working with children can really tell us aton about ourselves. … Read More

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