In the modern day of radio, while many songs are edited to exclude inappropriate language and references, it can be hard to find good and entertaining music for your children that is also appropriate and won’t cause you to bang your head on the steering wheel after hearing it for the 3rd time this car ride. Fun music for kids can be found in many places!
Music taste is very individual. Whether you are a fan of classical, hip hop, jazz or pop, your music tastes will influence your child. Although there are not set do’s and don’ts, there are some recommendations that will help you decide what musical influences to introduce to your children.
Music has a positive effect on children. They naturally gravitate towards pleasing sounds. Think of how you speak to a baby: you inflect your voice, you are probably animated, and you may even use a “sing song” way of speaking. Children, even babies at 35 weeks in utero, can tell the difference between songs and regular speaking. The jury is still out on whether or not music can make your baby smarter. However, music exposes your child to language, teaches rhythm and can calm them in a stressful time. In fact, studies have shown that babies as young as two months old can recognize melodies. I started singing a specific lullaby when my son was just a few weeks old, and it still calms him six months later!
The benefits of listening to music are not just for your baby. Music can help you and your baby bond over your favorite tunes in those early days. Instead of using the television as background noise, throw on some of your favorite tunes! It does not matter if you consider yourself a great singer, your baby knows your voice and loves it. By playing some of your favorite music, you will create a positive vibe in the midst of some of those stressful moments. Your baby will not only react to the music, but also your mood. So, what kind of music should you listen to?
When babies are young, you automatically think classical music. If your baby responds well to classical music, go for it! I personally love Vitamin String Quartet; they take modern music and set it to a classical performance. However, you do not want to limit yourself. Play music that you enjoy. Sing along and interact with your baby! Children respond to pleasing melodies and voices, so you may need to shelf abrasive music. On a pre-baby road trip I told my husband, “I do not think we will be listening to Jay-Z’s Blueprint album once the baby comes!” It may not be the most appropriate music for a baby. When babies grow, music choice is even more important. Especially when they can actually take in the words, memorize them and sing along!
Be careful when listening to the radio. Unfortunately, we cannot trust the radio to censor to the extent parents would prefer. There are certain curse words that are allowed to be said on the radio, and there seems to be no censoring in content. Even though your child may not understand suggestive lyrics, they are little tape recorders and will repeat them! Listening to a “light” or “oldies” radio station will help ensure positive music with less suggestive music.
Choose a kid friendly music platform. If you are a top 40 music fan, Kidz Bop is a great choice for your family. It is today’s popular music performed by children. If the song has any suggestive lyrics, the songs are reworked to be kid-friendly, ensuring appropriate lyrics for your child to sing along with! Pandora has a great Kidz Bop station to try out to see if it is right for your family. Soundtracks from children’s movies are also a safe bet! Parents around the world all know the words to Let It Go, but if it ensures a peaceful car ride, you may need to appease your little ones.
Above all, share the joy of music with your children. Singing nursery rhymes, playing musical instruments and acting out songs are a great way to help your child develop. Throw in a little Stevie Wonder or Adele to open your child up to the wonderful world of music!