Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Repost: Music soothes the savage toddler

I've contributed to the Orlando Sentinel's Moms at Work blog since 2010. The blog is changing content management systems and my old posts will no longer be available to the public, so I'm reposting them here, in the order that they were originally posted.

Feb. 23, 2011

We've always played a lot of music in our house, but I've found lately that I'm leaning on it as something of a parenting tool.

When my daughter's fussing because I've taken her crayon away rather than let her color on the floor or put the tissue box out of her reach so she won't pull out every single tissue (grrrrrr), sometimes just turning on music will quiet her and get her to start dancing.

Does that make me a lazy mom? Probably, but I'm OK with that, because it keeps the peace. And oh, how I relish peace in my home.

Of course, my newfound reliance on music has made me scrutinize some of the thousands of songs my husband and I have collected (circa 2003, we scanned all our CDs into iTunes and gave the physical copies away) over the years.

Sometimes I find myself diving for the computer when songs with inappropriate lyrics or themes begin to play. All that early 1990s-era hip hop I've got? Sometimes the language and tone aren't the best, as you can imagine. Ditto for hubby's collection of moody alt-rock and electronica. My beloved Prince and Etta James can sometimes be too raunchy. Our daughter's too young to understand the lyrics or sing along, but I want to stay somewhat vigilant so I'm not caught off-guard when she can.

With the exception of a few songs from the 'Curious George' soundtrack, a Raffi collection and an album "by" Sesame Street's Roosevelt Franklin that I adored when I was a kid, we don't have much children's music, so we've tried to cobble together some kid-friendly songs.

U2, we've found, mostly works. So does Bob Marley, of course. Bjork, too, as most of her lyrics are largely incomprehensible or beside the point. Fela Kuti is also largely decent. Jazz works. James Brown, minus the obvious. I've heard that lots of kids like the Beatles, but I'm not much of a fan, so I haven't tried that.

We've got a lot of music, so I'm still listening and looking to put together the music mix that is toddler-friendly but won't make Mommy and Daddy tear their hair out.

Have you found that you and your children enjoy the same music? What music makes both parents and kids happy in your house?

From the annals of great songs that aren't really kid-friendly:

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