The Playlist Challenge: Finding Motivation in Music


Each night, since my sons were babies, we have sang to  them “You Are My Sunshine.” Now, my heart grows full each night when they sing it back to me. Just thinking about their sweet little voices singing “you’ll never know dear how much I love you” fills me with joy and brings a tear to my eye. Music is so powerful as it can soothe us, motivate us and connect us. Whether you struggle with sensory issues or not, the power of music is universal.

When I plan the schedule for my family I always make sure that music is part of our weekly routine. My sons attend Music Together classes, which they love. Here, they have learned about rhythm, pitch and movement. They have connected with other children through dance and song. My son, who has struggled with sensory issues, has found calm in the routine of his music class, and he has learned which instruments soothe him and which ones do not. He has grown to tolerate and enjoy more musical experiences because of this exposure. Music can heal and transform us as long as we are given the opportunity to explore it.

In my office children enjoy doing meditations to help them feel grounded. In these meditations we use many of the senses as we dim the lights and lay on the floor. Soothing music elevates the meditation experience and often helps children go from silly to still. I recommend an app called “Relax Melodies.” There are many options for soothing sounds and it gives your child the opportunity to explore what sounds soothe them.

While relaxing melodies give us the opportunity to find calm, our favorite songs can give us validation, understanding and hope. Many of my teenagers find that the lyrics to rap music speak to their struggles, while others find empathy in rock and emo music. Sometimes kids just need to move and shake their sillies out. My littler clients find the motivation to move in the soundtrack of Trolls, while some of my older clients love a Taylor Swift dance party. Encouraging your children, especially those who struggle with hyperactivity,  to move to music gives them the opportunity to release their extra energy. When you listen to music and sing with your children you create an opportunity for connection and bonding.

I have a musical challenge for you. I challenge you to create a playlist of the top 10 songs that drive you. These are the songs that get you through a tough day and also the ones that help you celebrate a great one. In creating my top 10 list I enjoyed taking the time to go back through my music and to think about great memories connected to different songs. I am excited to share my top 10 (in no particular order) with you and I hope you will share yours with me too!

Emma’s Top 10:

  • This Is Me by Kesha

  • Whatever It Is by Zac Brown Band

  • Star of the Show by Thomas Rhett

  • Wide Open Spaces by The Dixie Chicks

  • Fighter by Christina Aguilera

  • Uptown Girl by Billy Joel

  • Stop This Train by John Mayer

  • Learning to Fly by Tom Petty

  • Part of Your World from The Little Mermaid

  • You Are My Sunshine by Johnny Cash