How to Make a Calm Down Playlist

Let’s talk about calm down music!

Have you ever turned on calming music and taken deep breaths as a way to cope when you’re feeling stressed? Music is a great way to support self-regulation and soothe feelings of tension, anxiety, and frustration. 


Just like adults, children and teenagers need validation and time to process and move through difficult emotions. It’s important to remember that immediately beginning to play calming music when your child is escalated could end up having the opposite effect. 


Instead, you can create a “calm down playlist” to support your child in gradually calming down. A calm down playlist uses songs that initially match a child’s feelings of anger/frustration/anxiety and gradually transitions into songs that support a more calm, regulated state.


Watch this video from our music therapist for some tips about creating a calm down playlist.


When creating a playlist, choose 4-5 songs that fit the following structure:

  • Song #1: Fast speed; matches feelings of anger/frustration/anxiety/hyperactivity
  • Song #2: A little slower than song #1; overall mood is more excited and positive
  • Song #3: Medium speed; overall mood is calm and positive
  • Song #4: Slow speed; overall mood is calm and positive
  • Song #5: Slow speed; overall mood is calm and positive


Here are some tips for creating and using a calm down playlist:

  • Use your child’s preferred types of music, artists, and songs.
  • While listening to the playlist, encourage your child to move/dance while listening. When the songs are fast, jump, stomp, or run. As the songs slow down, walk, sway, or stretch.
  • While listening to the playlist, you can also guide your child in breathing to the rhythm of the songs. Encourage them to breathe in through their nose and out through their mouth.


Here’s an example of a calm down playlist for a child who loves Disney music:

  • Song #1: “One Jump Ahead” (from Aladdin)
  • Song #2: “Be Our Guest” (from Beauty and the Beast)
  • Song #3: “You’ve Got a Friend In Me” (from Toy Story)
  • Song #4: “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” (from The Lion King)
  • Song #5: “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes” (from Cinderella)


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