In my family, we show love for each other in the typical ways you might expect—hugs, I love you‘s, and playing our favorite games together.
But one of our go-to ways to communicate love might be a little non-standard: song lyrics.
When one of my kids feels sad or we need to repair our connection after a tough moment, I’ll play one of our favorite love songs for kids. Then depending on whether it’s a mellow or an upbeat song, we’ll cuddle up on the couch or have an impromptu dance party. Or sometimes while they’re busy making art or building with LEGOs, I queue up a special song and say, “Hey, listen to this. It makes me think of you.”
And it works, every time. Because research shows that listening to music together creates healthy bonds and builds positive memories.1Wallace, J. B. (2015, April 3). The Right Way to Do Family Time. The Wall Street Journal.
But Here’s the Problem With Love Songs for Kids
Most love songs aren’t all that kid-friendly. Often, love song lyrics are clearly about the romantic love of a couple. And I’m guessing playing “When a Man Loves a Woman” for your kid probably isn’t the effect you’re going for.
Plus, many love songs’ lyrics are flat-out not appropriate for kids.
Obviously, you would never want to play an overtly risqué love song for your child, but a lot of love songs have at least a line or two that could create an uncomfortable moment when you play them for your child and you’re both paying close attention to the lyrics.
But here’s the real kicker when it comes to love songs for kids: The songs that are specifically made for kids tend to be so saccharine you can’t help but cringe, and they often sound like they could be the theme song to an obnoxious kids’ TV show. Swinging wildly to the other end of the spectrum, the songs written about a parent’s love for a child are typically so slow they could put you right to sleep.
The best love songs for kids are the ones you and your child will actually want to listen to together.
The Best Love Songs for Kids That Will Make Your Child Smile
Because love songs are one of my family’s favorite ways to connect and show our love for each other, I’ve been curating a huge playlist of love songs for kids over the years.
Below, I’m sharing the absolute best love songs for kids so that you can share them with your own child. I’ve double- and triple-checked the lyrics to make sure they are 100 percent kid-friendly. Not only that, many of these are specifically parent-to-child songs about unconditional love for a child.
Go ahead and create a playlist now so that the next time you experience a moment of disconnection with your child or you feel overwhelmed with your love for them, you’re ready to go with the perfect love songs for kids.
Whether you listen to these kid-friendly love songs together while you cuddle or you break out into an impromptu dance party, your child will feel secure in your love for them. And that stronger connection will pay off in the form of greater cooperation, fewer power struggles, and the kind of loving parent-child relationship that will last into the teenage years and beyond.
1. All Ways by Elliott Park
This is probably my favorite of all the love songs for children in this list. Starting when my youngest was two years old, he loved the “stinky feet” line. Giggles guaranteed, every time!
If you like this song, be sure to give the rest of the Just Be album a listen because it’s kid-friendly and fun for parents, too.
Quick heads up: If you live in an area where this word might be an issue, beware that this song mentions a “fanny pack” near the end. This is the American name for what’s referred to as a “bum bag” in some other countries.
2. Mama’s Sunshine, Daddy’s Rain by Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors
These lyrics are perfection. Here’s a taste for you:
All day long, right or wrong, you question everything.
Why the grass is green, can I stay up late, and why do the bluebirds sing?
3. I Care by Tom T. Hall
This song never gets old. Every time it comes on, I can’t help but smile! And because it’s full of warmth, we love using this one as a “goodnight” song before sending our kids off to bed.
4. The Lotto by Ingrid Michaelson with AJR
The lyrics of this song aren’t specifically about a parent’s unconditional love for a child, but the message translates 100 percent: all we need is each other.
5. The Best Day by Taylor Swift
This song is told from the perspective of a child to their mother, and it has all the feels.
6. Brand New Day by Lindsey Ray with Tim Myers
Queue up this one when you need a reset button or when you want to start the day off right.
7. All Smiles by Jess Penner
Full of childlike imagery, this happy song is sure to make you smile.
8. For My Daughter by Kane Brown
Kane Brown wrote this song for his little girl, and the lyrics about that special bond between a parent and child are powerful. But even though it’s from a dad to a daughter, just one line at the end mentions “baby girl,” so I still dance to this one with my son!
Someone to play catch with, out in the backyard
To pick up the pieces of your first broken heart
Someone to say slow down when you turn sixteen
9. You’ve Got a Friend in Me by Randy Newman
You might recognize this one from the Toy Story soundtrack, but the lyrics are perfect for a parent to a child, too:
You got troubles, I’ve got ’em too
There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for you
We stick together and see it through
‘Cause you’ve got a friend in me
10. Count on Me by Bruno Mars
How sweet are these lyrics?
If you tossin’ and you’re turnin’ and you just can’t fall asleep
I’ll sing a song beside you
And if you ever forget how much you really mean to me
Every day I will remind you
11. Wild + Free by Andrew Simple
This song perfectly captures the adventurous spirit of childhood.
12. You’re a Part of Me by Jillian Edwards with Zach Berkman
When one of my kids is struggling with separation anxiety or nighttime fears, I often repeat these lyrics to help calm them and remind them that we’re always connected, even when we’re apart: You’re a part of me.
13. Let’s Go by Handsome and Gretyl
The imagery of this song always gets my kids “flying” around the room:
Go and get your wings on, run until we lift off
Oh we’ll fly
Everyone needs a little adventure in their lives
14. Anywhere I Go by Rebecca Roubion
Like “You’re a Part of Me” above, this song will remind your child of the powerful connection you have, even when you’re apart.
15. A Friend Like You by Andy Grammer
This song is about two friends, but the lyrics are fun for a parent to a child, too:
Mac and cheese, PB and jelly
Some things are better together, and that’s you and me
16. My Little Love by The Weepies with Deb Talan and Steve Tannen
This one’s a little mellower than some others on this list, but it still has enough of a beat that it won’t put you to sleep!
17. Life’s What You Make It by Graham Colton
This is one of those love songs for kids that also shares a powerful life lesson.
18. Couldn’t Ask for a Better Friend by Michael Logen
This is something I often tell my kids, and I love having a song to reinforce it, too:
Any time you call
Anything you need
You know you can always count on me
19. Never Grow Up by Taylor Swift
This song perfectly captures the bittersweet emotions of parenthood and watching your child grow up. I dare you not to cry as you listen to this one!
20. Family by Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors
When this song comes on, my whole family starts bopping along. So much fun!
Bonus: How to Reconnect After a Tough Moment With Your Child
Research shows that in happy relationships, you need a ratio of five positive interactions to every one negative interaction. This is called the Magic 5:1 Ratio.
In other words, after a negative interaction with your child, you need to reconnect through a positive moment or two so you can close the distance between you and your child. Because if you don’t close that gap and your child feels a lack of connection, that will lead to more unnecessary power struggles and less cooperation from your child when you ask them to do something.
But unfortunately, when your brain is flooded with stress hormones in the moment, it’s incredibly difficult to think of something fun and sweet to do with your child so you can reconnect.
Which is why I created these Family Connection Cards, based on the science of what actually works when you need to reconnect. These cards remove the mental burden of figuring out how to reconnect with your child so you can just focus on nurturing your bond with your child. At any point during your day, you can pick a card to get a quick and simple idea for connecting.
And in just 10 minutes a day, these powerful cards will make your child feel absolutely loved and stop the power struggles caused by disconnection.
Get the Spotify Playlist
If you use Spotify, head over to this Spotify playlist and click the heart button to add the list of songs to your own Spotify library. Bonus: As I discover new love songs for kids, you’ll get extra songs not yet featured in this post!
For love songs to share with your partner, check out 75+ of the Best Unknown Love Songs.
Before you go, get my FREE cheat sheet: 75 Positive Phrases Every Child Needs to Hear
What are your favorite love songs for kids? Share in a comment below!