Taylor Swift performs and turns on the Christmas Lights at Westfield Shepherd’s Bush, London. 06/11/2012 Picture by: Steve Vas Editorial credit: Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com
Anyone who’s worked with me knows that I don’t endorse a lot of restriction on what kids are allowed to sing. Children’s love of a song often has nothing to do with how they relate to the lyrics and much to do with how a certain melodic hook, chord progression, or beat moves them. Exposure, of course, also plays a large role, so children gravitate toward what you play for them in the car and what their older siblings play in their room. But while I don’t like dictating what kids have to sing, it’s important to at least sometimes encourage them to sing lyrics that they can relate to so that they can get practice understanding the emotional crux of a song. It can be challenging to find pop songs like this, so today I’m giving you 10 child-appropriate pop songs for kids to sing.
1. Brave, by Sara Bareilles
“Brave” is about having the courage to speak up instead of bottling up all the hurt and anger. It’s a wonderful, empowering message for all ages.
2. Beautiful, by Christina Aguilera
Since the official music video isn’t as G rated as the song, I used the lyric video instead. Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” is about maintaining your sense of self-worth even when others are trying to tear you down.
3. Breakaway, by Kelly Clarkson
“Breakaway” is perfect for every age. By preschool, we all enter a variety of situations where we begin to break away from the comfort of our home life and explore the world independently.
4. Mean, by Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift has several child-appropriate songs, but “Mean” is my favorite message. When a child is being bullied, it’s very difficult to keep perspective and realize that this is a temporary phase. Singing along with “Mean” is both empowering and cathartic.
5. Firework, by Katy Perry
One of the quintessential child-appropriate pop songs, “Firework” is about feeling good about yourself and shining bright for the world.
6. Fight Song, by Rachel Platten
“Fight Song” deals with the theme of fighting through the times in your life you feel lost and small. It’s very easy to relate to no matter how young or old you are.
7. Happy, by Pharrell Williams
I hope that “Happy” is a song you’ve all related to at some point and that you’ve felt like clapping along because happiness is the truth.
8. Count on Me, by Bruno Mars
While Bruno Mars may not have a huge selection of child-appropriate material, “Count on Me” is a pretty strong exception. It’s explicitly about friendship and about counting on the people in your life you’re closest to.
9. Fireflies, by Owl City
No empowerment theme, no overcoming obstacles or being there for your friends: “Fireflies” is just an all-around fun song full of dream-like images.
10. Who Says, by Selena Gomez
Another song for the empowerment list, “Who Says” discusses loving who you are, flaws and all.
Molly is the founder of Molly’s Music. She is a dedicated singer and pianist whose musical journey spans 2.5 decades, with stops along the way to sing for the pope, pass Certificate of Merit at the highest level, study with Gwen Verdon and Ben Vereen, and record an original album.