As I write this blog post, my 3-year-old is watching Daniel Tiger and my 7-month-old take is taking one of her mini-non-consolidated naps (can anyone relate?!)

I’ve had many Daniel Tiger episodes playing in the background as I try to get a little work done during nap/quiet time. This is because I’m home with my two little ones on the days I’m not out working clinically.

As I’ve listened to the episodes, something strikes me each time.

Daniel Tiger’s songs are catchy. Really, really catchy. Maybe too catchy. Just ask my husband ;)

I can never get his songs out of my head and this got me thinking. We can learn a thing or two about songwriting from Daniel Tiger (stick with me here).

Here’s what I’ve learned about songwriting for young children from Daniel Tiger:

  • Simple is best – Many of his lessons are taught through short, simple melodic phrases. Young children may not remember an entire song if it only appears in one episode, but they will remember a short and simple phrase like “When you feel so mad that you have to roar, take a deep breath and count to four.”
  • Repeat, repeat, repeat – Each of the short melodic phrases are repeated multiple times throughout the episode. By the end of the episode you’ve got it down and it’s become an earworm!
  • Catchy is key – I find myself singing the songs throughout the day (despite my husband’s protests). The melodies are so darn catchy that I just cannot help myself. We’ll be making lunch and I’m singing “Take a grownup’s hand, follow the plan and you’ll stay safe.”

All these things make Daniel Tiger’s songs easy to recall and incredibly effective. I have certainly found myself singing “If you have to go potty stop and go right away” to my toddler on more than one occasion.

Even if you don’t have a little one to watch with you, I would highly suggest you check out an episode or two of Daniel Tiger. (Consider it…research!) Each episode focuses on a specific social emotional topic that could easily be used in our music therapy sessions.

I don’t know about you, but to me that’s Grrrr-iffic!


Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane/