What is Age-Appropriate?
When it comes to music for children, what is age-appropriate? What does that even mean? Appropriate as opposed to morally or socially unacceptable, or appropriate on a developmental and educational level? And who sets these standards of appropriateness? Early childhood experts? Parents? Local religious precepts? Community mores? State laws?
Trust Your Instincts
The bottom line is this: trust your parental instincts. If you feel uncomfortable having your child hear a particular song or watch a specific video, ask yourself what bothers you about it and tell your kid why you feel that way, if they're old enough to discuss it with you.
Even with the best music collection in the world, nothing beats singing to your baby, playing instruments with your toddler, dancing with your preschooler, or reciting nursery rhymes to them. In fact, until they've reached an age where they can comprehend "appropriateness," feel free to keep up the one-on-one musical activities with your child and don’t even bother with CDs.
Here are some of the best recently-released albums for children that I’ve classified by age group according to my general idea of appropriateness:
Music for Babies and Toddlers
- Dean Jones, Napper’s Delight
- Enzo Garcia, LMNO Music-Pink
- Johnny Bregar, Stomp Yer Feet!
- Little Miss Ann, Music for Tots
- Melanie Dill, Alphabet Parade
- Various Artists, Putumayo’s African Dreamland
Music for Preschoolers and Early Elementary Children
- Dog On Fleas, When I Get Little
- Elizabeth Mitchell, You are My Little Bird
- Father Goose, It’s a Bam Bam Diddly!
- Frances England, Family Tree
- Gunnar Madsen, I’m Growing
- They Might Be Giants, Here Come the 123s
Music for Upper Elementary Children