Family, Kids & Relationships

Family-friendly songs to help kids deal with anger, sadness, and other big feelings

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Music made for young kids is often happy and upbeat, nudging kids towards pleasant emotions. While a lot of this bubbly kids’ music can bring genuine delight and fun to your family routine, it’s not always right for the mood.

We shouldn’t expect kids to be happy all of the time. They have a right to feel sad, angry, afraid, nervous, bored, annoyed, or frustrated. And instead of going straight into encouraging them to “cheer up” or “calm down,” it’s okay to let them experience those raw emotions first.

Here’s a compilation of family-friendly music that can help kids learn about the natural range of human emotions, sit with their difficult feelings, and ultimately learn to manage and cope with them.

Kids’ songs about sadness and grief

When kids are feeling sad or missing someone they love, these songs can help them understand what they’re feeling and that it’s okay to cry and feel blue some days:

  • “Disco Rain” by Mil’s Trills feat. Uncle Jumbo
  • “Cry a Rainbow” by Pierce Freelon & Nnenna Freelon
  • “B.F.F. Goodbye” by Mista Cookie Jar & the Chocolate Chips
  • “The Day the Colours Went Away” by Shawny
  • “Mojo” by Little Miss Ann
  • “You Live in My Memories” by Pierce Freelon & Nnenna Freelon
  • “Melon Collie” by The Vegetable Plot
  • “Let It Flow” by Little Ripples
  • “It’s Okay to Cry” by Mr. Elephant
  • “You Don’t Have to Smile If You Don’t Want To” by The Tallest Kid in the Room

Listen to the playlist here:

Kids’ songs about anger and frustration

Children get mad and frustrated often, and it’s our instinct to get them to calm down right away — but sometimes they may need more time to feel that anger, instead of bottling it up. These songs can help kids process anger in a healthy way

  • “Punch a Pillow” by Mil’s Trills feat. Uncle Jumbo
  • “I Feel Angry” by Music with Michal
  • “I’m Mad” by Matt Heaton
  • “Grumpy as a Grizzly Bear” by StoryBots
  • “Angry” by The Learning Station
  • “Cranky Pants” by Animal Farm
  • “Grizzly Bear Grump” by Stephanie Leavell

Listen to the playlist here:

Kids’ songs about being afraid, nervous, or overwhelmed

Kids who get worried, stressed, and overwhelmed can benefit from knowing they’re not alone and that it’s normal to feel this way. Listen to these songs together to help them get in touch with those nervous feelings:

  • “Zombie in My Head” by Bee Parks and the Hornets & Ants on a Log
  • “Everyone’s Afraid of Something” by In the Nick of Time
  • “Nerves” by Kath Bee
  • “I’m Scared” by StoryBots
  • “The Worry Wizard” by Debra Lynn La Lima, LMSW
  • “Fly, Shine, Soar” by 123 Andrés & Little Miss Ann
  • “Surface Pressure” by Jessica Darrow (from Encanto)

Listen to the playlist here:

Kids’ songs about loneliness, boredom, impatience, etc.

Some unpleasant feelings are not quite as severe, but still make kids feel yucky and confused. Whether they’re feeling alone and wary of bullies, or they’re just tired of waiting around, this collection of kids’ music can help:

  • “Small Specks” by Mil’s Trills
  • “We Feel It” by Alphabet Rockers
  • “Waiting in Line” by Ants on a Log
  • “Waitin’ for Better Weather Blues” by Bob Swanson
  • “When Will My Life Begin” by Mandy Moore (from Tangled)
  • “It’s OK Being You” by Wendy & DB
  • “Boomerang” by 123 Andrés feat. Konshens, Rita Rosa & Verny Varela
  • “When We Get There” by Ants on a Log
  • “Waiting on a Miracle” by Stephanie Beatriz (from Encanto)

Listen to the playlist here:

Kids’ songs about a range of feelings, plus coping skills

Feelings are complicated, and most kids (and adults!) can benefit from more social emotional learning. The following songs either address a range of emotions or teach general coping strategies that help people manage various “big” feelings:

  • “It’s OK to Feel This Way” by Mil’s Trills feat. Uncle Jumbo
  • “Feelings Are Real” by Little Green Monster Project & Traci Hines
  • “Help You Do the Work” by Pierce Freelon & Nnenna Freelon feat. Jarrett Johnson
  • “Take a Breath” by Raffi
  • “I Forgot” by Little Miss Ann
  • “Let Me Have My Feelings” by Mil’s Trills feat. Pierce Freelon
  • “Breathe (Ready to Say Goodbye)” by Music with Michal
  • “Vulnerable” by Pierce Freelon
  • “Sometimes” by Little Miss Ann
  • “Back to the Breath” by Mil’s Trills
  • “I Need a Break” by Stephanie Leavell
  • “Songs, Many Songs” by Ants on a Log

Listen to the playlist here:

Joanna Eng is a staff writer and digital content specialist at ParentsTogether. She lives with her wife and two kids in New York, where she loves to hike, try new foods, and check out way too many books from the library.