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Five Tips for Driving with Kid's Music

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author photo by Autotrader June 2008

If you don't have children, you should probably stop reading right now and go for a nice, relaxing drive with your own music. If you do have kids, however, you might need this article like the desert needs the rain.

You see, for the first few years of parenthood, you enter into a strange land of "family friendly" music. Suddenly you get disconnected from sports radio, talk shows or favorite CDs. Instead, you'll find yourself listening to purple dinosaurs and monkeys that play the maracas. It's a perplexing time for any new mom and dad, which is why we came up with this list.

There are a million options when it comes to kids' music, but when it comes to enduring it while driving, here are five things you need to know:

1. Dora! Dora! Dora!
We've watched roughly 9,732 episodes of Dora the Explorer at home, and it still never bothers me, but throw her CD in while we're driving and it's a bit much. Something about the hyper combination of maracas, talking animals, repetitive melodies, and rapid beats tends to send my blood pressure through the roof and the Dora CD through the open driver's side window.

My recommendation? Think twice before inviting Dora and her pals to join you on a long road trip.

2. Don't DJ; finish each CD.
It's tempting to comply quickly when your son or daughter politely asks for a new song. The problem is that one request leads to another, and before you know it, you're swapping CDs faster than a radio DJ. So, whenever possible, make a point of finishing a whole CD. It will give you a chance to focus on driving and allow your kids to hear some of the deeper album cuts from Barney.

3. Come home to Barney.
Speaking of Barney, over the years, this lovable purple dinosaur has served as the butt of many a standup comedian's joke. But the truth is that in the pantheon of children's music, Barney is not so bad. He sings all the classics (B-I-N-G-O, Old McDonald, etc.) instead of making up weird new songs, he teaches good values and, most importantly, he's easy to tune out mentally. Pick up a Barney CD and you'll find out exactly how good that rascal of a Brontosaurus really is.

4. Embrace Baby Einstein.
The woman who invented this brilliant program has been paid handsomely in the millions, and she deserves every penny. The Baby Einstein videos are almost hypnotic in their ability to calm an angry baby, and the CDs are pretty good, too. Although it gets a little repetitive, for the most part the albums are simply classical music. So in addition to having an easy background sound, you can impress friends at parties with your knowledge of Mozart.

5. Try a book on CD.
Don't confine yourself to just music when it comes to traveling. Kids who are two years of age and older will often get engaged by a good book on tape/CD. Most local libraries offer dozens of options. Visit one and choose a title that lines up with the types of books your kids read at home. It's a bonus if they can actually follow the recording with the book, but either way, this is a great way to break up the monotony of a road trip.

Every parent has his or her own little tricks. These are five of mine, but we encourage you to make up your own. You'll be amazed at how far a little forethought can go when it comes to something as simple as planning good music for a peaceful drive.

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Five Tips for Driving with Kid's Music - Autotrader