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Music Etiquette Tips to Ensure Your Kids Stay Classy

MAY 17, 2022

Music Etiquette Tips to Ensure Your Kids Stay Classy

Music has been portable for a while now, but it’s probably been at least a decade since the common person used a Walkman or blasted tunes from a massive shoulder boombox. 

Today, you can fit millions of songs from every genre in a device in your pocket. 

Add to that all of today’s music tech, ranging from bluetooth speakers to in-ear buds to noise canceling headphones and even speakers on smartphones themselves. You can now literally play millions of songs wherever you want and whenever you want with a simple voice command.

This obvious benefit does come with some drawbacks, though. Chances are good you’ve been subjected to someone else’s loud music in a public space. Check out some tips for good music etiquette and how to teach these to your kiddos.

Things to Keep in Mind

In the new age of music listening, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Public vs Private

Don’t force others to pick between listening to your music or leaving a public spot (especially if they were there first first). Keep this in mind in places like the beach, parks, or in traffic with your windows down.


Don’t play music so loudly that everyone around has to listen to it, unless you’re sure everyone else wants to hear. This also goes for headphones and earbuds. Don’t play them so loud that the music is audible outside your own ears.

One way to test this is by holding the headphones at arms length. If you can still hear the music clearly, it is probably too loud.

Also consider the people around when you do wear headphones. Is it an appropriate time to listen to music by yourself? Or will you be shutting people out?


Don’t play explicit or suggestive music in public if kids are present, as well as adults that don’t want to listen to it.

Check in with the people around you. For example, if you’re in a car with others, consider the kind of music that’s playing. Does everyone enjoy that genre? Are they okay with certain kinds of lyrics? Simply ask them.

The same goes for music you are already listening to. Does the person you are with seem to be enjoying the music? Ask them if they mind if you change the song before skipping ahead.

two guys listening to music

How to Teach your Kids Music Etiquette

If your child is listening to their music loudly where others can hear it, you can either address it in the moment, or later on, outside of the situation. You know your child best, so consider where you can coach them while minimizing embarrassment or shame.

One of the best ways to teach your kids good music etiquette might also be the hardest: practice what you preach. As with just about everything else in parenting, kids are better at modeling after what you do than what you say.

If you want to prevent them from being an obnoxious public music listener, don’t be one yourself. Your own home and car are private spaces, and are great venues for modeling respectful behavior. 

For example, before playing music in the home or car, consider asking everyone within earshot if they’re cool with it. Your child will pick up on the most important lesson of music listening etiquette: acknowledge that other people will be impacted.

It’s also worth considering how you respond to poor music etiquette when your kids are around. 

It’s fair to acknowledge or even address rude public music behavior (especially if inappropriate music is being played within earshot of your kids) but do your best to do so calmly and respectfully. 

What are your experiences with good (or bad!) music etiquette? Let us know in the comments!

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