To Soothe the Savage Beast

Those who have read this blog regularly know that I often talk about mindful parenting (here, here, here, and here, for instance), and how Kindermusik, with its focus on whole child development, has helpedme be more connected to my kids. It’s no wonder my new favorite parenting book (Move over Playful Parenting) is Parenting in the Present Moment: How to Stay Focused on What Really Matters, by Carla Naumburg, Ph.D.

One of the ways we can connect with our kids, Dr. Naumburg asserts, is by soothing them. We all get upset (just moments ago I had to break the news to my Kindergartner that yes, she does have school today, much to her frustration). She writes:

“[Our children are] young, they’re immature, and their brains haven’t yet developed the ability to figure out what is worth getting upset about and what isn’t, nor are they able to quickly and consistently calm themselves down. That’s where we parents come in. We can share our calm presence with our children time and again until they start to internalize it for themselves.” (pg. 25)

Of course, this is easier said than done, but one of the themes of this book is that we don’t have to be perfect at it, we just have to keep swimming. Oh, no, wait, that’s Dory. Well, same idea—returning repeatedly to our goal, that’s what’s important.

She mentions music as one of the tools we can use to calm our kids and ourselves. Just yesterday, in a moment of stress, I heard a few bars of George Winston’s Thanksgiving track, from the December album, one that I played often in my late-high school and early-college years to soothe my stress—and I noticed an immediate, physical calming yesterday, too.


Years ago I burned a CD of my favorite Kindermuisk lullabies. (Yes, this was before I could put together a “playlist.” But it was many years after needing to make a “mixed tape.”) They represent moments of pure joy and peace from cuddling my babies in class, and as I play the CD even today, it’s nice to see how much of a calming effect it has on everyone (this can be especially helpful on car trips, as long as the driver doesn’t get too calm).

Here are some of the songs from that album. Check them out–you can even download them for your own playlist!

Simple Gifts (this particular version I love, love, love)

Tressa’s Song

Suo Gan

The Barn Lullaby

Bubbles and Waves (perhaps my favorite on this list)

Los Pescaditos (Hmmm. . . maybe this is my favorite–tough call)

Cantonese Lullaby

And, finally, this version of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

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