I was reminded recently of a helpful guide to choosing songs or music to use with children. This test (originally developed by Scripture Union) has been also a very useful tool in training music teams working with children in mission situations. The test is called the TRIM test.
T = Teaching Is the teaching true and suitable for the age group? Is there anything in the lyrics which the children will have to 'unlearn' later? Do the lyrics honor God and lead kids to respect him?
R= Relevance Are the lyrics relevant to the real experiences of children? There is no point teaching them songs which only adults will understand , or songs which do not deal with the things that crop up in their lives.
I= Interest Is the song enjoyable? Will they love to sing it and remember it?
M= Meaning Does the song make sense in language which is child oriented? Does the song help children understand a little more about God and about life?
The TRIM test is simple. If the tune and rhythm are winners, but the song fails the other test, DON'T USE IT!