What Songs Do Your Kids Listen To?

Friday, November 05, 2010

By Katie Moosbrugger

This time last year my daughter (who was five) was belting out the words to “Connected” (from Barbie’s Diamond Castle soundtrack) and “Part of Your World” (from the Little Mermaid soundtrack), plus other similar tunes. She sang the lyrics ad nauseum. In the car, in her room, in the bathtub, on the playground, at the dinner table, and in her little brother’s ear much to his dismay. It was annoying, but in retrospect, it was funny, cute, and harmless, and I’d take those days back in a heartbeat. That’s because now, just one year later, I’m hearing her chant the not-so-innocent Katy Perry lyrics and question why a song would say “when we drink we do it right” (from "Like a G6"). Yikes!

I know it’s my job to filter her listening habits (and I do try, although I have my occasional slip-ups in the car…oops). Yet, before you cast a judgmental eye my way, I know I’m not alone in this. It wasn’t too long ago I hosted my friend’s children to play at our house, and at the end of the play date, my kids knew every word to “Don’t Cha” by the Pussycat Dolls (ok, you know who you are, mom friend!)!!

It’s inevitable our kids will get influenced by a variety of musical genres from a variety of sources, and I’m ok with that. Not to mention we are a big music-listening household. My husband and I both have Ipods and we add occasional kid tunes to our mix so the kids can take turns listening on long car rides or on airplanes. We also upload and stream our favorite stations from Pandora during dinner and other times. (By the way, if you are not familiar with the free service of Pandora, you are missing out!)

So with an Ipod topping her Christmas list this year, I think it’s high-time I “try” to direct her taste in music to a more age-appropriate mix. I thought I’d use today’s blog to ask what songs or artists you’d recommend for every young age, but most particularly, songs for impressionable elementary school-age girls, like my daughter!

Below are some of my six-year-old’s top picks. Some are obvious and some are random. And as you can tell, I need help in the age-appropriate category. If you have suggestions or criticism, please add it in the comment section below!

Anything Taylor Swift
Some Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus
Most any female singer
Bob Marley (his Three Little Birds song is featured on Nick Jr.!)
Counting Crows (my daughter took this CD from us and loves it…random)
The Beatles
Big Bang Boom (local children’s band from Greensboro!)
Laurie Berkner
They Might Be Giants (I listened to them in the ‘80s…go figure)
Kelly Clarkston
Norah Jones
John Mayer
Colby Caillat
Jill commented on 05-Nov-2010 08:11 AM
We struggle with this, too, because today's music has a good dancing beat! It's just a shame that 90% of the lyrics are so..risque. So, we get KidzBop CDs, which are slightly more tame because they change the lyrics to popular songs when needed (not sure what they can do with Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream", though!). We also listen to Christian music in the car - it might spur difficult questions from the kids but at least I don't have to remember to turn the radio down in certain places!
MichelleW commented on 05-Nov-2010 08:28 AM
Search for "Simply Mad about the Mouse" on itunes. There are some great Disney tunes that were "covered" by contemporary artists that are fun to listen to and sing along, examples are "Bare Necessities" by Harry Connick, Jr and "Who's afraid of the Big Bad Wolf" by L.L. Cool J

Are the Imagination Movers or Choo Choo Soul too babyish for her?
Summer R commented on 05-Nov-2010 08:41 AM
I was a little surprised one day to hear my pre-school daughter singing "I kissed a girl and I liked it" from the back seat! Our family has made a few mixed CD's and playlists on the ipod that are kid friendly. We love Ralph Covert for more kid centered music and then we tried to introduce some oldies but goodies like, Johnny Cash, Frank Sinatra, Van Morrison, Judy Garland, Beach Boys, and Some super Golden Oldies, and showtunes, Like Annie. When my husband is not in the car with us to work the ipod I keep it on a country or christian station.
Another great option is checking out books or stories on tape from the Library. The Central Library also hase a great selection of audio CD's I think we have checked out David Bowie doing Peter and the Wolf 5 times!
Allison commented on 05-Nov-2010 09:17 AM
Okay, I am glad to hear your daughters are doing the same thing! My 5 year old daughter ask me the other day (while riding in the car with me) why the man singing the song is "Going to give all my secrets away." It is from a One Republic song that I love. Luckily, the lyrics aren't bad, but it reminded me that these little ears hear EVERYTHING!
My recommendation is KidzBop. Like Jill said, it is all the top 40 songs with "cleaner" lyrics in place of the raunchy ones.
Anonymous commented on 05-Nov-2010 09:29 AM
Summer, Emily sang the same lyrics about kissing a girl! LOL. Plus, she likes that song "My first kiss went a little like this..." And she has Henry singing it too. UGH.
Rachel commented on 05-Nov-2010 09:47 AM
Currently, we are listening to Rihanna's "Only Girl in the World" about twenty times a day. (Not because of the kids, because of ME!) I love this song and I have not heard any "bad words" in it. I am the type of person who finds a song I love and plays it over and over until I am sick of it. Unfortunately I have taught my kids to do the same thing!
Kelly G. commented on 05-Nov-2010 09:49 AM
I highly recommend the Barenaked Ladies' kids' CD "Snacktime." It's a really long CD, and it has great music on it. I listen to it when the kids are not even in the car. What's interesting about it is that they explore different, familiar genres. You will recognize 80s techno, Queen, some hot experimental jazz, and a song that you is a great cross between reggae and Phish. And, true to BNL style, some of the songs are really funny. My favorites are "Snacktime" featuring Gordon Lightfoot (yes, really), "Crazy ABCs," "Bad Day," "Polliwog in a Bog," and "Allergies."
KimF commented on 05-Nov-2010 10:00 AM
XM 115 Radio Disney and 116 Kids Place Live.
I learned very quickly that satellite radio does not censor lyrics!
Ashley commented on 05-Nov-2010 10:02 AM
Well, we have enjoyed sharing songs that we like with our kids. Our little guy even has pretty good dance moves to some!! I know others may not think appropriate ("Rain makes corn") !! We usually have several microphones in the car so everyone can sing!! Speaking of . . . is that the traded microphone from this summer?? Good Stuff!!
Courtney Tucker commented on 07-Nov-2010 09:04 AM
We've had similar troubles with an album my four year old loves: ZAc Brown's Band's Toes. We sing, "I've got my toes in the water, toes in the sand," even though the real lyrics say, "toes in the water, a$$ in the sand." We've explained how that word isn't appropriate to say since it's an ugly way to say "butt" etc but I worry that this will come back to haunt us later. Fortunately, for now my daughter sings it the way we direct.
Tracy commented on 27-Nov-2010 08:49 AM
My son went to summer camp for the first time this year at our local Y. He learned the words to all the latest pop songs. It's cute how he interprets most of them but ...I know we do have to be careful! When recently driving in my car and Kesha's "Take it Off" came on and he said "I love this song!", it was definitely time to change the station!!

And to Courtney above, we also love that song ...however our version says "ants in the sand". Works for me!
Anonymous commented on 17-Oct-2012 05:15 PM
Rock music. Mostly grunge bands like Pearl Jam and Alice in chains but also stuff like Rory Gallagher and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

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