Rohappy / Getty Images
‘I’m feeling sexual. You feeling sexuaalllll,’ sang my six-year-old merrily in her high-pitched sing song voice.
I nearly choked on my cup of tea as I watched her innocently move and groove around the lounge room. Just when I thought I was being vigilant with the music we listen to in the car, this little doozy popped in.
‘Don’t sing that song, darling,’ I said to her. ‘It has some words in there that are not for little kids.’
Fortunately, she didn’t ask any questions this time, but I’ve been bombarded with awkward questions in the past about the meaning of song lyrics. With my eldest daughter aged six, we’re past the age where she’s content to listen to Justine Clarke and The Wiggles. She loves to dance and gravitates toward catchy and upbeat mainstream tunes on the radio. She’s always telling me to turn the radio up when she likes a song.
The problem I have with this is that not all mainstream music is appropriate for kids. Explicit language, sex, drugs, innuendo – I might be channeling my grandmother when she banned me from watching Rage and Video Hits at her house as a kid, but I’m just not comfortable with my kids listening to music that’s not G rated. We don’t swear in front of the kids and I don’t want them picking it up from the radio or TV either. Yes, I know it’s just a matter of time, but I’m going to attempt to protect their innocence for as long as I can.
Right now you might be thinking, hello, this woman is the fun police. Call it what you will, but there’s definitely no way I want my two young girls singing about sex, drugs and the objectification of women. I know a lot of it goes over their heads, but the older they get, the more they understand and the more questions they ask about inappropriate lyrics.
I know it will be hard for me to control what the kids listen to when they venture into the tween and teen phase, but for now I’m keeping a close eye on the music they listen to while they’re young and impressionable. It doesn’t mean they’re missing out, though. Just because I don’t like my kids listening to explicit music, it doesn’t mean we don’t like to have mega-awesome dance parties in our lounge room.
My husband and I have slowly been growing a playlist of kid-friendly music that the whole family can enjoy. We’re attempting to steer away from explicit language, sex, drugs and anything that can trigger questions from inquisitive kids. Thanks to the great new kids’ movies that have hit the cinemas recently, our job has been made easier with some awesome tunes from the Trolls, Sing and Moana soundtracks.
Here’s our top picks for kid-friendly music that the whole family can rock out to:
Can’t Stop The Feeling – Justin Timberlake
True Colours – Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrick
Marshmello – Alone
Shake It Off – Taylor Swift
I’m Still Standing – Taron Egerton
How Far I’ll Go – Alessia Cara
I Like To Move It Move It – Madagascar
Try Everything – Shakira
Firework – Katy Perry
Roar – Katy Perry
Happy – Pharrell
Sit Still Look Pretty – Daya
Brave – Sara Braseilles
Bomba Estéreo – Soy Yo
Good Feeling – Flo Rida
Me Too – Megan Trainor
Cheap Thrills – Sia
Uptown Funk – Marc Ronson ft Bruno Mars
You can also tune into the Radio for Kids section on Internet radio service Pandora, which has a selection of songs appropriate for kids seven and under. There are also several just for kids playlists on Spotify.
Do you monitor the music your kids listen to? Have you had any awkward questions from your kids about lyrics? Do you let your kids listen to explicit music?