By Chelsea Owens, Guest Writer
Nothing puts the icing on the parenting cake quite like a screaming child. Whether in the car, at the store, or anytime the child feels like it; The Scream is The Worst.
What’s a parent to do? Duct tape is tempting, but not feasible. You’d never get it off your ears without some pain, and it wouldn’t cancel out enough noise to make the hair loss worth it.
Instead, what about music? At our house we listen to so many different songs that I have a playlist for nearly every situation. That’s why I’ve got your back when the screams start. I not only included a few obligatory ‘calm the kids down’ tunes, but also threw in some that will harmonize with the screaming. And just ‘cause I’m nice, I finished with songs that are so awesome you won’t notice the screaming for a few ...seconds, at least.
Calm Songs (For the Kids)
First, I always start with my favorite Classical pieces. These range from Mozart to Chopin to Weezer. And, thanks to the heavenly blessing of YouTube, I can pop a ready-made playlist on as soon as it’s needed:
You may have noticed one of those things is not like the others in my first suggestion. This is because I never tie myself down to any style or genre of music. If you and yours like Weezer, The Piano Guys, or The Plain White T’s; my second suggestion is to play what works.
The recommended tune I include, here, is the playlist that consistently put my second child to sleep every time we got in the car: the soundtrack for the film Edward Scissorhands.
My last calm songs idea is a bit of a mashup of the two before. The artist calls himself Caspar Babypants. Trendy, hip parents may recognize him from the 90s band The President of the United States of America.
Caspar Babypants started composing songs for young children when he, himself, became a parent and saw what was out there. Thank goodness he did, too!
Screaming Songs (To Harmonize)
As funny as it sounds, I find stress relief in giving into the moment and becoming one with The Scream. Since my doctor suggested my headaches and sore throat might decrease if I avoid screaming myself, I instead turn to singers who do it for me.
For full-on screams (or yells), the most tolerable choice is “Immigrant Song” by Led Zeppelin:
Another great classic rock option is one that became my favorite after Matthew Morrison and Neil Patrick Harris took it on during an episode of “Glee.” As gorgeous as those two are, they still can’t reach the screaminess that is Steven Tyler.
When the kids get high-pitched and I need a commiserating harmony, I skip to the end:
Last but not least is my oldest son’s go-to whenever I become the screamer. Not that it helps, but he always gets us laughing when he turns it on.
Because; really, can you not laugh when 10 hours of screaming goat is playing?
Awesome Distracting Songs (For Everybody)
This is the part of the list where you can insert your own ideas. Maybe your family swings to Christian Rock for inspiration. Maybe you’re more partial to electric grunge. Or, you could have a favorite based on what pitch your child screams at.
Our family enjoys everything from Beethoven to heavily-edited Eminem. I also recognize the effect that music has on people and houseplants, and therefore try to keep our awesome songs playlists limited to ones with positive messages and tones.
In light of that, the first of my three suggestions is “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” by Justin Timberlake. Even if you’re still sick of it, you can search for other songs like it.
Really, the best way to distract a screamer and his or her audience is to put on something you can dance to. Timberlake’s song is great for that, as are many others. When I asked around my mom’s group for their favorite, two of them also mentioned Fitz and the Tantrums’ “Hand Clap.”
In the end, the very best thing I can do for the child and myself is to distract with a funny video. After trying snacks, naps, and duct tape; my number one song choices for watching are OK Go’s amazing compilations. I don’t know how many times the band has to record them, but the end results are mesmerizing.
The songs aren’t half-bad, either.
Parenting isn’t for the faint of heart, but it also doesn’t need to make you dependent on ear plugs. Next time your little darling starts practicing angry opera, whip one of these songs out. You and everyone within earshot just might start dancing, instead.
After all, a dancing child is better than a screaming one any day.
Chelsea enjoys writing, reading, eating, sleeping, and living vicariously through others' stories. Since she is a mother full time, sometimes she gets to do those things.