It's bath time in our house. And predictably, my three daughters are starting to melt down. The complaints are flying left and right. "The water's too hot." "It's too cold." "There's soap in my eyes!"
That's when I hit "play" on a new Spotify kids' playlist called "Bathtime." And all of a sudden, my kids' attention is redirected to the fun, lively songs curated by the Spotify team. In between the tunes, the adorable Busy Philipps prompts us to talk about the music and our bath-time activities. I wanted to jump through my computer to hug Busy for deflecting the nightly whining that seems to always accompany the bath, and inspiring a connection between me and my girls in this everyday moment.
That's just what Spotify's relaunch of their kids' category, Kids and Family, aims to do. "Spotify wants to support parents in everyday moments to enrich their lives," says Kerry Steib, the company's director of social impact. "And help every child get the best possible start in life."
Indeed, research shows that exposing kids to music from birth has proven benefits, like promoting early brain and language development. So Spotify has curated a collection of playlists built around things families do every day. From bath time, to family dance parties, car trips, and bedtime, each playlist offers parents a way to easily integrate music and singing into their daily routines. Here's a sampling:
Bathtime (Ages 0-3)
Dance Party (Ages 3-5)
Going for a Drive (Ages 0-3)
Hanging for the Weekend (Ages 3-5)
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In between each song, parents will hear voiceover prompts, available in both English and Spanish, with tips and ideas for vocabulary-building activities and conversation starters. What I love is that celebrities like Wiz Khalifa, Fantasia, Tyler Perry, Juanes, Diego Torres, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Frankie J, Laurie Berkner, Busy Philipps, and Ashley Williams voice the prompts, which made listening fun for me, too.
Here's a sample prompt: "Talk back and forth with your child responding to her babbles and sounds. These are their first steps in having a conversation. Try to keep it going by taking turns listening and responding." Or it could be something as simple as suggesting families make up a silly dance together.
But it's about more than just silliness; there's real science behind the selections. Spotify's editorial team drew from Spotify's data, editorial expertise, and guidance from leading childhood development research and organizations such as Too Small to Fail, ZERO TO THREE, and Vroom to curate the music and prompts. Here's what you'll hear:
● Evergreen songs with a nostalgia factor that parents will remember from their own childhoods
● Songs popular with existing Spotify users and culled from user playlists made for family time
● Popular songs in genres, moods, and moments that work for the entire family
● Songs that have characteristics which promote young children's vocabulary development
So how can you start integrating the playlists into your daily routine? Steib says it's all about finding the right moment. "Start with something you feel most connected to," she says. So whether it's bath time, dinnertime, or driving in the car, use the new collection of Spotify playlists to turn an everyday moment into an experience, a connection, and a memory.
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Follow her on Twitter (@Spitupnsuburbs), where she chronicles her love of exercising and drinking coffee, but never simultaneously.