There are plenty of parents who cede all control of the stereo during their kid’s waking hours to the Wiggles and Barneys and whatever other high-pitched sounds will delight them, because it sounds like the same high-pitched nonsense that comes out of their own mouths. Then, there are the parents whose music snobbery overrides common sense, and they insist their kid “Loves Thelonius Monk,” even as the poor kid’s eyes glaze over while dad gets all hep with it.
You are neither of these parents. You value your sanity too much to succumb to all Rockabye Baby and Kidz Bop, all the time; you also genuinely enjoy watching your kid get into music. So, you carefully select songs for those times of day that go best with a soundtrack — when you’re in the car or trying to get them dancing or bath time or bedtime — and hope to hit that sweet spot.
These playlists are curated with you and your kid in mind: 20 songs for each situation that will inspire singing, dancing, splashing or sleeping, no matter how old you are.
There have have been more great songs written about the open road than anything other than sex, and that’s not really on the board in this instance, So crank these tracks on your next long drive — or even in your next traffic jam — and teach them the awkward joy of getting caught by the guy in the next car over while they’re shouting Kenny Loggins at the top of their lungs.
“Born To Run” by Bruce Springsteen “I Left My Wallet In El Segundo” by A Tribe Called Quest“Truckin'” by The Grateful Dead“Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver“The Distance” by Cake“Ramblin’ Man” by The Allman Brothers Band“Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins“Jerry Was A Race Car Driver” by Primus“Road To Nowhere” by Talking Heads“Picture Me Rollin'” by 2Pac“Low Rider” by War“King Of The Road” by Roger Miller“Running On Empty” by Jackson Browne“Into The Great Wide Open” by Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers“On The Road Again” by Willie Nelson“Ride Like The Wind” by Christopher Cross“Route 66” by Chuck Berry“Fantastic Voyage” by Coolio“I’ve Been Everywhere” by Johnny Cash
You want your kid to dance for all the obvious reasons — their complete lack of guile, the fascinating way their bodies pair movement to sound for the first time, and because it’s just fun. But don’t forget the most important reason to get them dancing: they’re the only people on the planet who have no idea that you’re a terrible dancer.
“I Want You Back” by Jackson 5“Say Hey (I Love You)” by Michael Franti And Spearhead“Let’s Dance” by Chris Motez“Happy” by Pharrell Williams“Jump” by Kris Kross“Jungle Boogie” by Kool And The Gang“Everything Is AWESOME!!!” by Joli“Mess Around” by Ray Charles“Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore“Yakety Yak” by The Coasters“Shout” by The Isley Brothers“Blitzkrieg Bop” by Ramones“Tutti Frutti” by Little Richard“Shut Up And Dance” by Walk The Moon“Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO“Thriller” by Michael Jackson“Crazy In Love” by Beyonce, Jay Z“Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson, Bruno Mars
If your first reaction to the idea of a playlist specifically for bath time is, “Why do I need a playlist for bath time?” then you’re probably no fun to take a bath with. That might explain why it’s such a pain in the ass to get your kid in the bath every night.
“Splish Splash” by Bobby Darin“The Swimming Song” by Loudon Wainwright III “Dirty Water” by The Standells“Yellow Submarine” by Ringo Starr“Don’t Rock My Boat” by Bob Marley And The Wailers“Black Water” by The Doobie Brothers“Wipeout” by The Surfaris“Tiny Bubbles” by Don Ho“Born On The Bayou” by Creedence Clearwater Revival“Rivers Of Babylon” by Sublime“Bird Bath” by The Trashmen“I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water” by Elvis Presley“Dirty Paws” by Of Monsters And Men“Don’t Drink The Water” by Dave Matthews Band“Float On” by Modest Mouse“Rubber Duckie” by Bootsy Collins“Take Me To The River” by Talking Heads“(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of A Bay” by Ottis Redding“Hang Me Up To Dry” by Cold War Kids
This is the motherlode: 20 tracks that you can sing softly to induce your kid to fall asleep on your chest, which is the pinnacle of adorable kid-related moments. Also, the “Your Kid Has No Idea You Can’t Dance” rule is directly applicable to your singing, too.
“Where Do The Children Play” by Cat Stevens“Naked As We Came” by Iron And Wine“Heartbeats” by Jose Gonzales“Redemption Song” by Bob Marley And The Wailers“The Sound Of Silence” by Simon And Garfunkel“Blue Motel Room” by Joni Mitchell“Day Is Done” by Nick Drake“Waiting On An Angel” by Ben Harper“A Whiter Shade Of Pale” by Annie Lennox“Jo” by Goldfrapp“Dream A Little Dream Of Me” by Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong“Sweet Baby James” by James Taylor“Imagine” by Jack Johnson“Didn’t Leave Nobody But The Baby” by Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, Gillian Welch“Fade Into You” by Mazzy Star“Time In A Bottle” by Jim Croce“Rest” by Michael Kiwanuka“Into The Mystic” by Van Morrison“The Moon Song” by Karen O, Ezra Koenig
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