Back seat blues


Parents desperate to prevent temper tantrums in the car on long holiday road trips are being warned to avoid playing songs from some of the most popular artists in the UK, including Sam Fender, Dolly Parton and Elton John.

Kids bean bag retailer, Great Beanbags, teamed up with a clinical psychologist to create a ‘tantrum-busting formula’, where more than 1000 popular nursery rhymes were analysed to find the average key, BPM and time signature. Using these averages, the most and least compatible songs across music genres from heavy metal to pop were identified to create a ‘tantrum-busting’ playlist for kids.

According to the formula, the number one song to skip to avoid a tantrum is Will We Talk? by English musician Sam Fender. In second spot is Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers' iconic duet, Islands In The Stream and third is heavy metal track The Wolf You Feed by Nita Strauss. While classical music is often praised for its calming effect, Violin Concerto No. 10 in G Major: Largo is in the top 10 for bringing on a meltdown.

Other songs on the tantrum blacklist include: Back is Black (AC/DC); Arabella (Arctic Monkeys) and I’m Still Standing (Elton John). Genres most likely to raise the roof include garage music, heavy metal and rock.

Dr Liam Gilligan, clinical psychologist specialising in children and families, has some tips for parents looking to stop a tantrum – fast!

Avoid getting angry or shouting

Stay calm ­ especially if you are in control of a moving vehicle ­ and don’t let your own emotions overwhelm you. Getting angry or shouting isn’t helpful and will often just keep a meltdown going. Overtime, this reaction will teach a child that this is the best way to manage difficult situations.

Ignore the behaviour

If it is safe to do so, sometimes it’s best to ignore the bad behaviour and praise the good. You can occasionally check in with them to see if they are ready to move on, and if they are, remember to praise them for stopping some of the more unhelpful behaviours.

Recognise the tell-tale signs

Tantrums are best managed before they reach the point where your child is in full flow. Aim to anticipate them and meet their needs or intervene if you notice them starting to struggle with their emotions.”

Parents in need of a tantrum-approved playlist can play it on Spotify here.


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