How to create a family playlist

I’m always looking for new ways to bond with our teen.

No one told me in advance that the teen years would be this challenging. It’s rough when your beloved child starts to pull away from you and cringe at your every word.

But after getting over my initial sadness, I now view it as a challenge: how can I make her laugh today? How can I connect with her on these new terms?

Music has always been one of our favorite ways to connect as a family. We love sharing songs and taking turns being the DJ on our long drives.

Granted, some of my music is high on the list of things that make our kiddo cringe. But we do agree on some artists and songs!

One of our most tender and special shared moments in recent months was the time when Z took one of her earbuds out of her ear and offered it to me so I could listen to what she had on. Yes, I started tearing up at the sweetness of this gesture. Yes, that made her wish she’d never done it. When will I learn?!

You can imagine my excitement when I recently discovered the ability to create collaborative playlists on Spotify.

We’ve found that creating family playlists is a great way to bond with a music-loving teen. We can create playlists for specific trips – like our upcoming spring break road trip. I have created playlists I love for both NY and California travel.

We can also create playlists for listening to during work or school – and playlists that represent different moods or emotions.

You could even do this with younger kids using prompts like the following (I saw these somewhere and edited them slightly, so if you came up with them, thank you!):

  • Pick a song that gets you through difficult moments
  • Choose a song that represents a recent challenge
  • Add a song that represents a recent personal win
  • Pick a song that represents something you’re working toward
  • Add a song that represents your support system
  • Choose a song that helps you get through tough school or work projects
  • Pick a song that says “Friday dance party!”

To create a collaborative, family playlist on Spotify, you’ll want to access it from a phone or tablet. Then, simply:

  1. Tap Your Library at the bottom right corner.
  2. Go to Playlists, and either create a new one (hit the + sign) or select the one you want to collaborate on. You can only do this for playlists you’ve created.
  3. Tap the Add user button in the header to invite family members or friends and make the playlist collaborative.
  4. Start inviting others to add songs on social media, messaging apps or simply by copying and pasting the link.

Once you have made a kickass collaborative/family playlist, there’s a strong chance your teen will simply put on headphones and listen privately anyway. But hey, you tried!

If you have other tips for bonding and connecting with teens – or other cool Spotify tips and tricks – I’m always listening in the comments below or over on Facebook or Instagram.

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About the author

Proud and loving midlife mama. Lucky and devoted wife. Dog, cat and snake mom. Travel nut. Natural born writer. PR and social media pro by day - tattoo doula by night.
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