How To Get Your Kids To Listen To YOUR Music

I am not a huge January hater. In fact, there’s lots that I love about January: the “new slate” feeling, the crisp air, the rush from surviving the holidays, and the fact that I seldom have to worry about sweaty pits when it’s 10 degrees. It’s actually one of my favorite months.



But the frigid temperatures and icy winds do require me to use my car more often. And driving with my kids presents lots of challenges, but the chief one? Their taste in music. I wrote about this over the summer (here) and I got so many great ideas from the comments to the post. The best idea, never let your children listen to their own music in the first place, won’t work for us. That ship, as they say, has already sailed.

Since the best idea wasn’t possible for my crap-music enthusiasts, I have had to spend considerable time “redirecting” the choices we make around music.

Here’s what’s worked best.


I know, I know. It’s wrong to lie, especially to the people for whom I am a role model (*shudder*). But hear me out. These lies are in the gray area because they could be true . . . and they would be, if Disney music wasn’t utter crap and the rest of the pantheon of “children’s music” didn’t make my ear drums bleed.

I need these lies. Sadie is the most insistent that we listen to Ariel sing about getting out of the sea or Cinderella singing some drippy song about Prince Charming. I recognize it’s a situation of my own creation, as I let her have the CDs when she received them as gifts. Then, I proceeded to record them in our mini-van, because I am stupid most of the time. Now they are burned into my car so I am screwed. So screwed.

But, I’ve been sneaking in some of my music. A little Mumford & Sons or Bruno Mars or the occasional Fun. It never went over well with Sadie, who wants to hear her princesses.

This is where the lie happened.

“Sadie, listen to this! It’s Pocahontas’ new song– it’s about her bravery in a fire.” Then, I play Alicia’s Girl on Fire, and BOOM! Sadie thinks it’s a “princess song.”

The other day I played Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive, and I told her it was Cinderella.

I may have pushed it too far when I told her that Willie Nelson was Aurora’s grandfather and that Lyle Lovett was the beast from Beauty and the Beast. (Sorry, Lyle, it’s nothing personal.)

Are they lies? Yes. But don’t you think that lies that further better musical taste and create a bearable commuting experience deserve some respect?  (Rationalizing, like a good liar!)


44 thoughts on “How To Get Your Kids To Listen To YOUR Music

  1. Fantastic!!! Great way to redirect (and it’s not *technically* lying…)

    Although, as someone who never let my kid listen to “children’s music”, I speak from experience when I tell you that it is just as annoying to have my daughter know the words to ALL the songs on the radio, and sing them at all times…whether the radio is on or off.

    My 2.5 year old’s lexicon now includes sentences like “a vision of ecstasy” (from Rihanna’s Diamonds) and “Yeah, baby, give me one more night”. (Maroon 5) I think I might prefer the worry free “Wheels on the Bus” to the constant stress of whether a song is appropriate enough for her tender little ears :-/

  2. My kids prefer “real” music instead of music from movies and such. That’s fine except if I forget the iPod or a CD we’re stuck with the radio where things like I’ma lick you up and down, take off all your clothes and put that booty in my face, blow my whistle, and my personal favorite to hear my 3-year-old chant: cake cake cake cake (and it’s not even my birthday.) Our rides usually consist of a lot of frantic attempts to change stations before they catch a new melody. Damn them for making songs about dry humping in a club with such catchy beats.

  3. Love it! Although I would have a hard time passing off Eminem (and all his profanity, and otherwise completely inappropriate lyrics) for, say Prince Eric 😉

  4. they are not lies, they are creative musical licence. Maybe you think lyle is a beast… who’s to say? soon they will be hooked up to their own little head phones, listening to their own music and the car radio will once again belong to you.

  5. I think its brilliant! But are you not continuing the connection of music and princesses? I think that your technique may be a great gateway to mainstream music, but as soon as she figures out what’s been happening she may relapse. Ease into the truth.

  6. I currently teach 3rd grade and it’s always interesting to hear what songs the kiddos listen to. Occasionally I’ll have a song in my head and I’ll start singing it under my breath and they’ll sing a long haha. Last year I had a ‘ticket’ behavior system and they would turn in any leftover tickets at the end of the week and ‘buy’ something from the class store. One of the options was to pick a song an end of the day song. I had a list of about 20 appropriate radio songs that I didn’t mind listening to and that they enjoyed. Mostly your typical ‘black eyed peas, katy perry,’ etc, but at least it wasn’t Disney music lol. It made the day more tolerable. Great article!

  7. This is a great idea. I’ll have to remember it. The other day I put on some of my music to calm Sass down, but she just got mad and yelled, “No, mama! No!!” She doesn’t even have any of her own music to listen to yet (this is not an accident) – if she knew there was an alternative there would have been a riot.

  8. I have no problem with the lies and that is how I got through raising my children. I lied on a daily basis. Most of them made up on the spot.

    “Dad, I can’t sleep.”

    “Oh? Find me a penny..”

    I would get a glass of water and tell her to set the water on the penny (heads side up) for 30 seconds and then drink it. It will make her tired.

    “Daddy, what if it was tails side up.”

    “Uh, …that’s to help you poop.”

    It always worked.

      • The penny under water was done for years. She would even do it herself before going to bed some nights.

        We had a hundred of them that I no longer remember. Most of them only got used once because they were made up on the spot and never used again.

  9. Brilliant! I will steal your ideas immediately. Especially Lyle Lovett. I think we’ll start our morning tomorrow with some vintage Billy Joel, you know, Rapunzel’s brotha from another motha.

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