Pop For Tots

Do you ever listened closely to the lyrics from today's pop hits -- that is, if you can even understand them? More often than not they're filled with tales of unhealthy relationships, violence and yes -- sex, drugs and rock and roll (gasp!) If you'd prefer to expose your kids to more appropriate music, here are 10 great pop songs perfect for young listeners.

Girl listening to music


"Firework" - Katy Perry

Common Sense Media says this “unusually clean” Katy Perry Song emphasizes self-esteem. It's profanity-free, has no references to “sex or substances” and encourages kids to rise above their insecurities, light their inner spark and let their colors shine. You go girl!


"Stereo Hearts" – Gym Class Heroes featuring Adam Levine

This love song compares the singer's heart with a stereo that beats for his true love — pretty tame stuff. You'll be singing along to your own stereo when you listen to this song by American band Gym Class Heroes, with Adam Levine, the lead singer of Maroon 5.


"I'm Only Me When I'm With You" - Taylor Swift

This sweet love song by Taylor Swift is a wholesome tune you can play for the whole family. Swift's trademark country pop sound will get the kids up and moving.


"Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" – Kelly Clarkson

This song is the ultimate girl power anthem, with Kelly Clarkson belting out empowering lyrics to an upbeat pop rock beat. Pure positivity here.


"Good Feeling" – Flo Rida

Described by Common Sense Media as a “clean, positive rap tune”, Good Feeling is about being strong and following your dreams.


"Lights" – Ellie Goulding

Get out the disco ball and blast this techno-pop tune from young UK singer Ellie Goulding. This song is free of mature subject-matter and full of fantasy and fun.


"What Makes You Beautiful" – One Direction

No worries about sex and drugs in this upbeat love song by One Direction. Check out 8-year old rapper Matty B's cover of the song on YouTube. Pretty sweet!


"Feel Again" – OneRepublic

The whole family can safely enjoy this clean pop song about recovering from the pain of lost love. Lots of “woo -hoos” to sing along to, and a great fast-paced beat for kids to get their groove on.


"Steal My Kisses" – Ben Harper

This song by Ben Harper may be about a boy trying to steal kisses from his girlfriend, but it's also fun to sing to your little ones while chasing them around and trying to steal a few kisses of your own. It doesn't get much sweeter than that!


"Home" – Phillip Phillips

American Idol winner Phillip Phillips delivers a wholesome debut song with Home — a story of hope and encouragement from one friend to another. “Just know you're not alone. Cause I'm going to make this place your home.”  His raspy voice and accompanying guitar music make this a catchy tune you may find yourself (and your kids) humming throughout the day.

More on kids

A parent's guide to deglamorizing reality TV
10 Pop songs little kids can dance to
These songs always get my kids to simmer down in the car

Expert tip

Common Sense Media advises parents to listen to appropriate music when the kids are within earshot: "Your child will sing along with whatever you select, so make sure you choose songs with lyrics you won’t mind your child repeating if you aren’t around."


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Comments on "10 Pop songs for kids that don’t involve sex, drugs or Lady Gaga"

Hi. February 11, 2014 | 2:20 PM

i think these are child-appropriate because as you can see, they mean these specific songs! Maybe there are other songs that are inappropriate by that same artist, but that doesn't mean ALL their music is inappropriate. (Like with Katy -- Firework is actually a great, empowering appropriate song, but others by her, maybe not so much.)

gabby February 01, 2014 | 6:48 PM

OK this is good for young kids but older ones will listen to other things. Don't limit there listening too much. They won't care or repeat those words.

Angus January 28, 2014 | 2:19 AM

many young people are also happily listening to non mainstream, unsigned artists singing their own songs, not just the well known artists. Codi Kaye song You're Not Innocent (anti-bullying) has been shared on FB >500k times, with similar numbers on YT views and SC plays (mostly by 10-20 yo). The singer-songwriter is 16. YNI will never make a list like above, but hundreds of thousands of kids are listening to brilliant songs like this, and with parents listening with them.

Danae January 21, 2014 | 8:15 AM

You should search for the songs that had been cleaned up. Uh,Also Little Mix do have songs that are "cleaner" that One Direction's songs(Even if their songs usually use double sent,and are not that dirty...a bit,yeah,some. but not all) also if you are gonna let them hear rap you should let them hear Becky G. And if you want a "more sane" pop it can be something like Austin Mahone.

Catalina December 06, 2013 | 2:33 AM

All the songs by Pullman Standard are clean, catchy, and multi generational. The best.

Grama K The Coolio October 23, 2013 | 4:11 PM

Um, Stereo Hearts has a loud & clear F BOMB in it. Not so wholesome in my book.

smileycheese October 12, 2013 | 7:07 AM

what!!! Kids are fine listening to other types of music!! they cant grow up not knowing what these songs mean! stop being so overprotective parents!

Jaden August 01, 2013 | 1:22 PM

When I was younger, I listened to 50 Cent, Eminem, that kind of stuff and I turned out fine. I don't think parents should restrict music from their children. Kids are going to exposed to that stuff anyway. I mean not 3-8 year olds but like if your child is 10 or older, they are old enough to listen to their own music. Plus a lot of kids don't even understand the dirty lyrics they are singing anyways.

Erin July 21, 2013 | 9:12 AM

Thank you for this. I do kid's entertainment (princess parties) and everyone's disturbed when all the little girls start singing along to songs with lyrics like "I'm too y for you" - but they sure do love to dance and sing to pop songs!

Ona July 07, 2013 | 2:05 AM

LADY GAGA, realy????????

Alexis June 14, 2013 | 7:42 PM

If your kids are younger than 16 then they need to listen to Radio Disney. Stop complaining about the songs on the radio-artist dont raise your kids, you do.

Marc McAlinden June 12, 2013 | 5:34 PM

Really? "Doesnt involve Lady Gag" Top 40 radio and Pop Stations ARE NOT MEANT FOR KIDS. All you moms need to get off your high horse and learn a thing or two. Top 40 is meant for teens and young adults. Lady Gaga has had TONS of #1 songs on Top 40 radio SO OBVIOUSLY they are gonna play her music. besides, Teens and young adults, and even adults love her because she makes catchy, awesome, meaningful songs! Don't want your kids to hear any "bad, -filled, LADY GAGA songs"? DON'T PLAY TOP 40 RADIO!! Dumb moms! How do you think you got pregnant? XX

Sarah June 10, 2013 | 4:49 PM

I love all these songs... To those who say something is wrong with Taylor Swift, SHE NEVER CUSSES, DRESSES APPROPRIATELY, and is VERY UPBEAT! GET OVER IT! And besides, look at Flo Rida or Gym Class Heroes, then Taylor Swift, see the difference?! For better example, Whistle by Flo Rida, and Get Back Home by Gym Class Heroes. Then ANY TAYLOR SWIFT SONG! GET OVER IT!

Faith June 03, 2013 | 4:40 PM

I love all these songs!

laurianna smith June 01, 2013 | 1:50 PM

I think taylor swift and tyler perry are not artists for children because my chidren are only 5 and 3

Random Musician May 15, 2013 | 5:49 AM

If you are really gonna make your kids listen to some pop songs that are really Age Appropriate it must not have Heartbroken meanings and at the same time love. It can have a little love ( Young love ) like crushes or whatever since that's what kids. On their age. Experience. Not this.

Kathy April 12, 2013 | 12:08 PM

ANYTHING that David Archuleta sings is appropriate for all. His music has meaning and is clean. Oh...you can understand ALL the words too!

Liberty March 05, 2013 | 11:15 AM

Kudos for the inclusion of songs promoting empowerment... a list tainted by a song entitled "I'm Only Me When I'm With You."

Mark Mann January 06, 2013 | 4:45 AM

Crazy list from someone who doesn't understand what "age appropriate" means. There are dozens of songs out there (usually geared to the tween category) that are better. Lots of Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, etc. (though even some of those are getting too adult). Most of these are from artists whose other songs are completely inappropriate and even some of these songs could be taken in an adult way. And Taylor Swift or Katy Perry are NOT artists children should be listening to. What parent would push these types of role models on kids?????

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