Modern and Classic Valentine's Day Songs for Children

If you are looking for some great songs to add to your kids’ playlist for Valentine’s Day, consider these songs that are about different kinds of love that we can feel and celebrate each day on this holiday of love and beyond.
One modern classic is “Love of My Life” by Carly Simon. She wrote this song for her children, and it’s affection, heartfelt lyrics from mother to child are timeless. “Warm and Tender” by Olivia Newton-John is a beautiful song she wrote for her daughter, Chloe, that may just make you tear up, but it’s also fun and has a great sound that kids will enjoy.
Add fun to the list with “Everything Reminds Me of My Dog” by Jane Siberry. This novelty song is so joyful in its unabashed celebration of the love that the singer feels for her dog, and it’s sure to delight any child who has a canine companion. “Ben” by Michael Jackson is another terrific, unusual song about other types of love; Jennifer Love Hewitt also did a nice cover of it. 
“The Greatest Love of All” by Whitney Houston is a powerful tune with a message children need to hear: love yourself. If you’re mourning the loss of the powerful singer, you’re not alone. Millions of other fans are also finding ways to cope with this loss. Celebrate her life and her music by enjoying the songs she passionately created. 
Some other must-add songs for the list include “The Real Thing” by Kenny Loggins, “Tiny Dancer” by Elton John, and “Let Me Be Your Teddy Bear” by Elvis Presley.

Kenny Loggins and Pooh Corner

If you have children, you no doubt know all about Winnie Pooh’s latest incarnations, and you probably remember him from your own childhood as well. Maybe you knew the awesome Disney Channel version of Pooh from the 1980s that featured the characters we all know and love as full-sized character best described as like Mickey Mouse at Disney World. Humans were inside the costumes and portrayed the characters, and the lovable characters also performed musical numbers in every show. 
Whether or not you have a long history with Pooh, your children will love the two Pooh-titled albums of Kenny Loggins. Kenny Loggins has a rather long history with Pooh himself. He first wrote the song called “House at Pooh Corner” in high school, and it was first recorded by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band before he recorded it with his own band, Loggins & Messina, in 1971. The album, “Sittin’ In,” was a big success, and the song become beloved among fans.
Then, over twenty years later, Kenny re-recorded that song with a new verse reflecting his own experiences with fatherhood relating to Pooh, and it was now called “Return to Pooh Corner.” In 1994, he released a children’s album featuring the song and titled the album “Return to Pooh Corner” as well. All of the songs on the album are winners. Some favorites include “Rainbow Connection” and “The Last Unicorn.” 
On February 8, 2000, Kenny released a follow-up album called “More Songs from Pooh Corner.” Highlights of this album include covers of “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Inch Worm,” “Flying Dreams,” and “Your Heart Will Lead You Home.” 
Loggins, who is now the father of five, has some of the best children’s music out there. It will please mother, father, and child. What can get better than that?

Choosing Great Oldies Music for Kids

Although you may carefully survey iTunes, the CD shop, and your local box store for the best musical CDs and downloads for your kids, it can be hard to find music that both children and parents can enjoy together. Modern pop music can have ultra-adult themes, and explaining to a child a questionable song lyric they hear you singing can result in major embarrassment. There is a solution to finding great music that is very kid-friendly. Look to the oldies! 
The nifty fifties are the best place to start for fun music that kids love. It’s clean cut and fun to dance to...There were many genres of music recorded in this time period. For rock and roll, try listening to “Peggy Sue” by Buddy Holly, “Teddy Bear” by Elvis Presley, and “Rockin’ Robin’” by Bobby Day. The decade also brought us such great songs as “Downtown” by Petula Clark and “Georgy Girl” by the Seekers.
You definitely want to introduce music from the 1960s. This was a decade of rock and roll, and it was also a decade of girl groups. They put the girl power in music long before the Spice Girls. Some songs to play include ”Baby Love” by the Supremes, ”One Fine Day” by the Chiffons, “Chapel of Love” by the Dixie Cups, and “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” by the Supremes.
Also include music from the 1970s in this bunch. While there were obviously a few artists that pushed the limits, most music from this time period is totally safe for kids. All the songs from The Carpenters, Olivia Newton-John, the Bee Gees, Barry Manilow, Chicago, and Billy Joel should be fun for people of all ages.

Creating A Good Morning Playlist for Kids

So it’s a pretty well-established fact that mornings are not a favorite time of day for most of us, and kids are no exception. Who wants to be woken up from the comfort of a restful slumber? Well, one way to ease your kids out of bed without frustrating alarm clocks and repeat visits to their room is to play some morning music to help ease your kids out of bed and also celebrate this under-appreciated time of day. You may opt to make a playlist and hook up your mp3 player to small speakers that you place near their pillows, or you may even play the music from the hallway.
You may want to first consult your kids. Ask them what sort of music will help them wake up in the morning. You may not like all their choices, but you should compromise and at least let several of their songs go on the playlist. 
After that, you want to add in songs specifically for the morning. “Morning Has Broken,” which was written in 1931 and later made famous by Cat Stevens’ rendition of it, is a definite winner as a wake-up song. “Good Morning Starshine” from Hair is also a great choice. Sure, you may not permit your kids to watch that rather grown-up musical, but the song is a safe choice. The Brady Bunch’s “It’s a Sunshine Day” is an upbeat, catchy tune. It may be in your head all day, but it’s a delightful ditty. Another morning song for the playlist includes “Good Morning, Good Morning” by the Beatles. “Feelin’ Groovy” by Simon & Garfunkel and “Warm and Tender” by Olivia Newton-John are awesome, feel-good morning tunes.  

Enough with the Kidz Bop Already!

Repackaging pop hits with kid voices isn’t going to make them kid-friendly

When I first heard of Kidz Bop years ago, I thought it was a pretty stupid idea. Selling pop hits re-sung by children sounded like a bizarre way to get parents to buy music for their kids. Aside from being a slap in the face to the artists themselves—whether or not they can be called artists; it really does vary, I suppose—this practice is just another way to get yuppie parents to buy useless junk, telling them that though today’s pop music might not be good for their children, it can be transformed into something positive when portrayed with prepubescent vocals.

But instead of quickly dying out, the product skyrocketed, apparently, and now also features social networking, videos, photos, games, and plenty of other kid-marketed pop junk to last you more than several lifetimes. And it’s not even just pop. They have kids taking on the beloved monster ballads of my youth, which should definitely only be performed by their big-haired, loud-mouthed original singers. I suppose there is a lot of adult content there that grown-ups feel more comfortable about when it is delivered by the mouths of babes.

All I can say about this is barf; my child is six and we listen to all kinds of music. Rendering pop music useless by listening to it performed by children simply doesn’t fit into our lives. She does listen to some music sung by children, of course; she has nursery rhymes and traditional children’s music on CD and so forth. That’s why it’s called children’s music, though; it’s meant to be performed by children.

We also listen to lots of classic rock, oldies, classic country, Latin music, classical music, New Age songs, and yes, even some pop. “Born This Way” is one of her favorite songs, as is “Firework.” But I don’t dumb them down for her by buying them performed by other children; she is so much smarter than that, and it would also interfere with her musical learning. Music is way too important in our home to listen to in any way other than its authentic, intended version; if we listen to cover versions of songs (and we do), I make sure to tell her that.

We both love to explore Spotify and YouTube, finding songs that we love. One of her current favorites is to look up music from the sixties that was featured on television, such as songs by The Supremes, because it’s so different from TV today. In none of our adventures do we actively seek out songs performed by children unless they occur that way naturally.

I wonder how much money those kids get paid to sing, anyway?

The Best Children's Movie Soundtracks

Like adults, many kids can really fall in love with the great music in their favorite films. It's actually a great way for children to learn a lot about music. Even if the movie is not specifically about music, it can still open up the conversation to all sorts of discussions about music appreciation and what you want your child to know about music. Also, it's simply fun!  Introduce your kids to these really fun movies and also surprise them with the soundtrack for their collection. 

Later, when you are listening to the soundtrack, talk to your children about the movie it's from. In this way, the soundtrack can have the extra effect of helping your children learn about relating memories to music and teach them little tricks to jog their own memories by relating certain things to certain songs. Start with these charming soundtracks.

"Three Men and a Little Lady" is a movie that is both timeless and very much of its time. Confusing? It doesn't have to be. Although the fashions and hip sayings are a bit 1980s, the classic story of an unconventional family who feels unconditional love for one another resonates very strongly today. The five-year-old "little lady" that the title references steals her scenes, and children just love the "three men" rap as performed by Ted Danson, Steve Guttenberg, and Tom Selleck as Jack, Michael, and Peter. Other classic songs from the soundtrack include "Waiting for a Star to Fall" by Boy Meets Girl and "Always Thinking of You" by Donna De Lory, Madonna's long-time dancer, back-up singer, and collaborator. 

Another great movie soundtrack that kids really respond to is "Annie." These songs are easy to remember, and they immediately bring to mind the spirited scenes from which they came. From "Maybe" to "Hard Knock Life" to "We Got Annie," you will want to sing and dance along as well, so be prepared for an impromptu performance between you and your children.

Eden Wood: the pageant celebrity rapper

She's pretty adorbs.

I've been watching quite a bit of TLC's Toddlers and Tiaras this holiday season. I'm completely addicted to watching the little girls in spray tans and fake eyelashes, ten-pound bedazzled dresses and fake hair wigs, staring at the screen with a mix of horror and disbelief.

The undeniable breakout star of the series is Arkansas-born six-year-old Eden Wood (and to a lesser extent, her mother). We've watched Eden dance as a warrior princess in the jungle, kiss her way to top titles and get signed with talent agencies. She's a really cute little girl, and she has the poise onstage of someone much older.

Off of the show, Eden is making pseudo-rap/spoken word music for kids. Her songs include catchy choruses and bright colors and mostly focus on becoming a world superstar or marrying Justin Bieber. One song called "Antz in Our Pantz" features Eden in street clothes with a bunch of other kids, dancing and talking about being young and cute.

The aforementioned song "Bieber Fever" has Eden speaking about a dream she had the night before that she--age six, mind you--and Bieber were married and adopted a bunch of children. Probably her most famous song is called "Cutie Patootie," which discusses Eden Wood's cuteness and celebrity. The accompanying video shows Eden performing at a mall in a pink, glitzy dress and a little pink top hat.

Since her celebrity flag started flying, Eden Wood has had a doll made of her likeness and a book called Eden Wood: From Cradle to Crown, a Life in Pictures published. She has appeared with Perez Hilton on Perez TV, and on various television morning shows. Eden has done more work before the age of seven than most of us have or will. She is even retiring from pageants because her celebrity takes up so much of her time, and none of the little unknown girls could really compete with her.

I really want to like all that Eden Wood is doing because she is so darn cute. Her mom also seems really likeable, and--although she probably is running the show--seems to give Eden a lot of choice in continuing with pageants and appearances and the like.

But the sad part about the whole thing is Eden's insistence on her own beauty and celebrity. Her talent, intelligent and charm--or developing these attributes--are pushed aside. Eden isn't immensely talented--just super adorable, and any sort of "beauty" in that's predicted by a six-year-old's cuteness isn't guaranteed. For now, it's just fun, but later?

Eden may--and most likely will--be discarded by the people who made her as she grows up. And then where will she be? Perhaps vying for Miss America.


Choosing Christmas Music for Children

One of the best gifts you can give a child is a happy memory. Music often becomes a very important part of many memories. So, as you try to establish important traditions for the holidays with your child, also think of the type of music that you want your child to associate with the season. Pick songs that matter to you with messages that you feel are important. Also pick songs that may inspire your kid to get up on his feet and dance. Here are some songs to get you started on that playlist if you are wondering just which songs you want to play this Christmas. 
“We Need a Little Christmas” is a really upbeat, fun little song that you may remember from the classic performance of it on the holiday episode of “Facts of Life.” If not, it needs little introduction. It lists all the fun things about Christmas and explains the urgency of it all, which young kids eager for the day to come will certainly understand. Try the version by Lee Greenwood.
“Winter Wonderland” is a beautiful song that is also accessible for kids of all ages. Many artists have covered this song so pick a singer to your liking. Artists who have recorded this ditty include the girl group Play, Peter Cetera, Randy Travis, Elvis Presley, Burl Ives, and Air Supply, among dozens of others. Talk about diversity. Pick your favorite.
“The 12 Days of Christmas” is a song that is really fun to teach to kids. It’s recommended for that fun aspect, as kids will feel a certain sense of accomplishment after learning what all the 12 gifts are. Several artists also have covered this one over the span of decades, but especially appealing versions for kids include the ones by Wee Sing, John Denver, and Andy Williams.