Ep. 152: Helping children identify, express, and regulate emotions with music; with Stephanie Leavell, MT-BC

How do you help kids handle their emotions?

Photo by Keira Burton on Pexels

A significant life skill is the development of healthy strategies to process and regulate emotions. Music therapist and award-winning singer/songwriter Stephanie Leavell explains the super-powers of music to teach these skills in a fun way to kids (and their adults).


My guest today is Stephanie Leavell, an award-winning singer/songwriter, instrumentalist, and music therapist with a passion for helping kids succeed. Stephanie is the creator of Music for Kiddos, an online education company that provides high-quality music resources and continuing music education for music therapists, music educators, and parents. Her second album for kids and families just released – I’m looking forward to chatting about it more in a bit!

Photo Credit: Chelsea Merrill


We discuss:

  • What inspired Stephanie’s passion for working with kids and using her music to help that age group (mostly 0-10 yo) succeed.
  • One of the super-powers of Stephanie’s music is how it equips kids to handle their emotions – to identify and express emotions, and develop healthy strategies for processing & coping with emotions. Many of us adults would like to have those skills! So if we can help our kids do that, we are doing so much right there to create a better tomorrow for everyone. How CAN music be used to help kids identify and express emotions, and develop healthy strategies for processing & coping with emotions?
  • Some of the most beneficial daily-life moments to consider incorporating music (nighttime routines, transitions).
  • Stephanie’s new album, Made To Bloom, that JUST released March 3, 2023.
  • Some of Stephanie’s favorite songs on the new album.
  • A song especially made for parents (“Slow Down,” inspired by Nichole Nordeman’s popular song of that title).
  • Resources offered by Stephanie, including her blog, podcast, music, tips and info via social media channels, and her free “Song of the Month.”

Connect/Other Resources

  • Stephanie Leavell Music website
  • Stephanie’s online education company, Music For Kiddos
  • Music For Kiddos Podcast: About early childhood music resources and how to use them. This podcast is for music therapists, music educators, teachers, SLPs, OTs, PTs, parents, and anyone else who is interested in supporting a child’s development through music.
    Stephanie Leavell is a board certified music therapist, music educator, mom, and the founder of MusicForKiddos.com. She is deeply passionate about using high-quality music resources to help kids express their feelings and reach their developmental goals.
  • Made To Bloom is available on all streaming services and on the Music for Kiddos website.
  • Find Stephanie and Music For Kiddos on:
  • Song-of-the-Month Club (FREE!)
  • Stephanie’s debut children’s album, Move It, Move It!, was nominated for Children’s Album of the Year in the 2019 Independent Music Awards. In 2020, her song “K-I-N-D” was nominated for Children’s Song of the Year in the Independent Music Awards, and her song “School’s A Little Different This Year” won the American Music Therapy Association Songwriting Competition. 2021 saw “K-I-N-D” honored as a finalist in the International Songwriting Competition.

Other episodes we mentioned or that you may enjoy:

In-Episode Promo

This is a quick break to tell you about Sonix, the service that I use to transcribe these episodes. Sonix is an artificial intelligence transcription service that automatically converts audio and video files to text – and can translate to over 40 languages. I transcribe these episodes to make them more accessible. I tried multiple services, and chose to stick with Sonix because of their accuracy, affordability, and because their site is just so easy to use; that’s a big plus for me, to not need to spend a bunch of time figuring out one more platform! While I love podcasts, I do tend to be a very visual learner. I figure other people probably are, too; and having that written form of your work just makes it more versatile. Sonix transcripts make the most of your hard work and can increase traffic to your site. Sonix is spelled s-o-n-i-x. You can check them out with a free trial PLUS an extra 100 minutes of free transcription by using the link sonix.ai/invite/enhancelife100. There’s a link in the show notes. Again, it’s sonix.ai/invite/enhancelife100 for a free trial AND an extra 100 minutes of free transcription.


Stephanie shares a story about an impactful experience that showed her the remarkable, gentle power of music.

Closing Words

What a powerful story! Thank you so much to Stephanie for sharing with us today and for all she does to enhance the lives of kiddos – and their adults – with her music! As I mentioned, Laurie Berkner’s music was a life-saver – and sanity-saver – for me when my kids were young. And her music is still on speed-dial for me whenever I watch my little 2-year-old neighbor friend, Camilla, because it just sets such a fun, positive vibe. I will definitely be adding Stephanie’s music to the mix, and am so grateful for another artist who can help kids understand their big feelings and express them in healthy ways.

As always, there are lots of links in the show notes, as well as a transcript of this episode and a list of related episodes you may enjoy.

All Enhance Life with Music episodes are evergreen; so check out the back catalogue for more ways that music can make your life better.

If you know of someone who would enjoy this episode, please share it with them! It’s easy to do right in your podcast listening app – just look for your app’s “Share” function to share by text, email, or social media. And of course you can always share the show notes webpage as well.

You can always connect with me on email (mindy@mpetersonmusic.com), Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Until next time, may your life be enhanced with music.

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