Driving Music Kids and Moms Will Love

Cynthia Dermody
Toddlers & Preschoolers
toddler in car

Phot by xooojadeooox

My 4 year old and 5 year old would have me hit the the CD replay button for Jingle Bells and Santa Claus is Comin' to Town a thousand timesr. Come to think of it, recently I think they have.

Not to be Grinchy, but I'm already thinking about what post-holiday tunes I want to cue up in the car's CD player. Turns out, it's good for mom to be selfish once in a while and play HER favorite music, says Stefan Shepherd, who writes the great kids' music blog zooglobble.com.

"Kids should have a wide range of experiences -- music and otherwise -- because it allows them to see the world in full," Shepherd says. "Even if they don't like classical music or reggae or country, having them hear those different styles reminds them there's a world outside their immediate circle."

But I have questions: Are certain types of music inappropriate for toddlers? How loud is too loud in the car? Here's what Shepherd says:

Are there some types of music you shouldn't expose a toddler to? Heavy metal, for instance. Is this too harsh or jarring for young ears?

Obviously, you might want to stay away from songs with particularly bad language or heavy themes, but just like you shouldn't play Spoon all the time, you shouldn't play Raffi all the time, either.

We listened to the Beatles and classical music, but that's because we would've listened to it anyway. You might hate the Beatles and classical music, so that'd be a bad choice, because one of the most important things you can do is listen to music you like so your kids see you enjoying music.

Is it possible to play too much music, since it tends to be a passive activity?

No, but you should sometimes turn off the CD player/radio and just sing with your kids. Music shouldn't just be a passive listening experience. You and your kids will enjoy the music you listen to much more if you sometimes just sing along.

What about the volume in the car? Sometimes we can't tell how loud it really is in the back.

I've never really thought about the volume, or at least, I've always figured it's been okay in our car. I can hear our kids, they can hear me, and I don't have a big pair of sub-woofers pounding out the bass. I think common sense is good here. And if, by chance, you're handing your 2 year old your iPod, you might want to check out listentoyourbuds.com.

What does your family play in the car?

When our first child was young, we listened to a whole bunch of Elizabeth Mitchell -- her CDs (You Are My Flower, You Are My Sunshine, You Are My Little Bird) are mellow, gorgeous, and a common post-lunch drive hope-the-kid-goes-to-sleep selection.  

We also listen to a bunch of Raffi. I know, people like to slag on him, but his first three albums, conveniently packaged as The Singable Songs Collection, are first-rate, with virtually no cloying. (Bonus points: the albums were produced by Daniel Lanois -- you know, as in U2 and Emmylou Harris producer.) They Might Be Giants' kids' CDs are a little above the toddler age range, but that never stopped us.

Now it's your turn, moms -- what is your toddler's favorite driving music?

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