Why Kids’ Music is Banned in My Car (and it Should Be in Yours, Too)

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No nursery rhymes
No kids’ music in my car!

Ok, ok, that sounds harsh. But really, isn’t driving around with three kids ages four and under enough “fun” without adding insult to injury? And by insult, I mean “Wheels on the Bus” on repeat. It’s ok the first three times, but after that, we’re lucky we even make it to our destination.

I grew up in the late 70s and 80s when the only options we had while driving with our parents were 1) sleeping 2) talking to them 3) bickering with siblings 4) staring out the window and 5) singing along to oldies or Top 40 radio (not much else existed). My older sister typically chose sleeping and I always chose singing.

Today it seems the best way to keep the peace in the car is to go the route of “whatever keeps them calm”—which may include listening to The Wiggles, or any version of nursery rhymes. Add in tablets and personal music devices, and kids can keep relatively quiet until they request their one-hundredth snack of the trip.

But in my car, it’s like 1982 all over again—short car rides, long road trips (our most recent was 12 hours)—it doesn’t matter. My three girls don’t have electronic devices, so there’s lots of sleeping and staring out of windows, a bit of bickering and “she’s touching me”, and there is NO KIDS’ MUSIC. At home, we listen to nursery rhymes, but once we get into the car, it’s a special space.

My girls love Mommy’s Music!

That’s when it’s time for Mommy’s Music. You might say, “Well Cindy, if they’re listening to their own music or watching movies on iPads, then you can listen to your own music anyway!” But you know what’s happened over time taking my route? Mommy’s Music has become my kids’ favorite music. They don’t request “Five Little Monkeys.” They want to hear “Ophelia” by the Lumineers and “Dancing on My Own” by Robyn. They clap and squeal as we sing along. They don’t even know iPads work in the car (shhh, don’t tell). My oldest daughter has her own evolving playlist, and only three songs are from Frozen! I’m not the Mommy Dearest of car music—there’s no way I could deny these girls “Let it Go” (both versions, of course).

Keeping the peace with your kids in the car is a personal decision and let’s face it, all-out war at times. You do what’s best for your family. My hope before I had kids was “If I teach them to like good music, they’ll like good music!” Amazingly, it’s worked out well for me, and our car time is a big part of the reason why.

What do you do to keep the peace in the car? If you’re brave, I challenge you to start with a short trip: make a playlist of music you like or put on a fun local radio station* (they do still exist!). Take away the kids’ music and other distractions—and see what happens. It might be a little painful at first, but you know what? Good things take time, and the love of good music is a gift that keeps on giving—I speak from experience.  Eventually, it will become a win-win—you get to listen to some great tunes and your kids might discover an oldie (or a newbie) song that will up their street cred on the playground.

*Columbus has some great radio stations! Our favorites are 105.7 The X (Alternative), Rewind 103.5/104.3 (“oldies”), CD 102.5 (Alternative) and 93.3 The Bus (everything).

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Cindy was born and raised in the northern ‘burbs of Chicago, and met her husband in kindergarten (though they weren’t allowed to date until 11th grade). After “surviving” the long-distance during college, she got married at 24 and lived it up traveling for fun and working as a Writer/Communication Consultant for 15 years. In 2012 she was honored with another title of (advanced maternal age) Mom. Juggling a new baby and a full-time career, Cindy thought she had it all figured out, until fall 2013 when her husband said he wanted to take a promotion in Columbus, OH. After looking Columbus up on a map, some intense crying and Googling (oh, there’s some big college there?), and one whirlwind house hunting trip, her family moved 300 miles to Dublin, OH. As if that wasn’t enough, Cindy stopped working and then found out she was expecting…twin girls! As the Queen Consultant of the house, Cindy works closely with her team of Princess Consultants (ages 4 and 2x2) to help them do and be their best. She frequently travels (to preschools and playgrounds), knows every word to the household mission (Let it Go), writes (killer grocery lists and the ABCs), drinks (leftover milk but prefers bourbon), and sings (anything and everything). She’s a lover of vinyl records, the northwoods of Wisconsin, and The Wonder Years. When she’s not managing her team and going on field trips, you can find her all over C-bus with her husband and friends enjoying the food and culture—and she can’t wait to share it all on CMB!