The Wheels on the Bus are Flat: The Top 10 Most Annoying Children’s Songs

You know the score, moms and dads. We’ve all been there, some of us more than others.
You repeat the chant incessantly, and find yourself humming the song in the shower when your kids are no longer in your presence.

I’m talking about children’s songs.

What is it about some of these “musical treats” that makes us want to pull our hair out? For as much as there’s comfort in the familiarity of many of the tunes and lyrics, so is there contempt and, in some cases, downright insanity.

Insanity from the fact that we are often forced against our wills to repeat the mantra over and over and over again, often in the wee hours of the early morning or late at night. We go to sleep and find ourselves humming tunes related to black sheep, only to drift into sleep-land to dream about itsy-bitsy spiders. It’s crazy.

Parenting young children, in particular, opens you up to a whole new world. A world of love and ladybugs that need to find their way home. A world of kisses and Kookaburras. Sometimes its wonderful, other times, well…not so much. In the latter instance, I refer to exhibit “A:”

The Top 10 Most Annoying Children’s Songs

1) Baa Baa Black Sheep - I knew even as a child that there was a troubling undercurrent to this song and alas, it’s true. Something to do with slavery, subservience, domination and submission and colorism. Not for me, thanks. It was the “yes, sir, yes, sir, three bags full” that pushed me over the edge. Call me sensitive.

2) The Itsy Bitsy Spider - The protagonist spider is either a) an eternal optimist, or b) incredibly stupid. “Down came the rain and washed the spider out” should of been his first clue. And yet the sun came out yet again and the itsy-bitsy spider, with no heed to his previous experience, went up the spout again. How are we supposed to teach our kids about the consequences of our actions when we learn from songs like this that you can literally be “washed away” and you go back for more. I don’t know, I think it’s a bad lesson to teach our kids. Just sayin’

3) The Wheels on the Bus - Not only do the wheels on the bus go “’round and ’round,” but the people on the bus go “up and down.” The babies on the bus go “Waa, waa, waa.” I don’t know about you, but the combination of these three makes me feel nauseous. I feel a migrane coming on every time I utter the words to this song. This bus ride sounds like a nightmare and vomit-inducing. And I haven’t even addressed the wipers on the bus going “swish, swish, swish,” and the doors on the bus going “open and shut.” Please pass me the bucket.

Image courtesy of

4) Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed - One by one, these simians become concussed, and yet this “doctor” has only one remedy: “no more monkeys jumping on the bed.” Can we say “lawsuit?” I hope this doctor has malpractice insurance.

5) Five Little Ducks - The ducks are being killed or abducted, one by one, and the mother duck is still just saying “quack, quack, quack” instead of calling the police. There is a serial duck killer on the loose and it doesn’t phase the mother duck at all. She clearly is not concerned that her babies are being systematically knocked off, one at a time. She just keeps quacking. I’ve surmised that the mother duck is an unfit duck and a sociopath.

6) Clementine - It was only in the past few years that it dawned on me how absolutely dire and dreary this song was, especially since we tend to sing it to small children. It’s about drowning, folks! Yes - it’s basically about someone who watches their beloved “Clementine” drown…because, (in their own words) “…but alas I was no swimmer so I lost my Clementine.” Sick. Oh, and morbid, too. We’re now singing about drowning? Check out the full lyrics here. No, I don’t sing this to my kids.

7) Rock-a-bye Baby - Who on earth puts their precious baby in a cradle on a treetop?? I know first-hand how desperate one can get when your child won’t sleep, but c’mon!! The bough breaking, the cradle falling and the baby falling to it’s inevitable demise is just too much for me to bear. Pass on this tune.

8) Jack and Jill - As you can see by now, there is an ongoing theme about kids sustaining major injuries in many of the popular children’s songs. Children’s song writers are evidently a sick and sadistic bunch. “Jack fell down and broke his crown” is bad enough, but “Jill came tumbling after” sounds like a parent’s worse nightmare. And on that note, where are Jack and Jill’s parents in this scenario??

Image courtesy of

9) Three Blind Mice - “A Rodent Slasher Story” - that’s how I see this so-called “harmless” tale (or should I say “tail?”). How twisted that sightless rodents are having their appendages hacked off by a carving knife. For what purpose? Sick, sick, sick.

10) Peas Porridge Hot - Can we say “food poisoning?” Who leaves food on the stove for NINE DAYS then feeds it to their kids? Again - unfit parents. I don’t care if that “Peas Porridge” is grandma’s most coveted recipe that was handed down through numerous generations. NINE DAYS IS JUST TOO LONG. End of story. See unfit parent for more details.
As you can see, many of the songs we sing are just plain messed up. At least that’s my opinion (with my tongue firmly planted in cheek).What children’s songs would be on your Top 10 Most Annoying list? Can’t wait to hear about them.For more annoying children’s songs “analysis” go to “The Wheels on the Bus are Flat Pt. 2: Still More Annoying Children’s Songs
****Stay tuned for a future post on the Top 7 Most Amazing Children’s Songs: coming soon to a blog near you 😉****

Looking for parenting advice and tips? Click on the image below to get your copy of my eBook today!


Like this post? Subscribe to the MMM newsletter get the latest parenting tips, advice and insight delivered right to your Inbox!

(Visited 131,936 times,

You might also like

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.


  1. BigMamma D says

    My husband and I were thinking about this the other day. We bought our daughter a CD of children's songs. One of the songs is called Shortenin' Bread. The lyrics are:

    "Three little children, lying in bed
    Two was sick an' the other 'most dead…"


    My daughter loves to watch Dora and I have caught myself on more than one occasion singing the Dora theme song at work. It's not until my co-workers start laughing at me that I realize I'm even doing it! So embarrassing!

  2. Samantha says

    @BigMamma DYea, the "doctor" in the Shortnin' Bread song seems to think that dough cooked on the skillet will cure all kinds of ailments. He's a quack. That said, the tune is kind of catchy…I often find myself singing kids songs at the supermarket and other embarrassing places.
    Thanks for commenting!

  3. Kerri says

    For us it's the princess songs! ALL OF THEM! It is like my girls get stuck on repeat with a certian line and can't shake it for a good 3-4 days. Even my son ends up singing along because it is all he has heard for so many days in a row, that it has acted as a brain washing technique! hahahaha

  4. Samantha says

    @Kerri Kerri, I feel your pain! Once those songs take hold in your mind, they're hard to remove! It doesn't help when the kids are singing them over and over and over again…ay-ya!!

  5. Allison says

    For us it’s ‘Ring Around the Rosie” … I dislike this song so much because it also includes physical activity that as far as my children are concerned never needs to end….forever ringing around the rosie and falling down….bleeechhhhhh!!!