There are few better things parents can do for their children than to spend quality time with them, and a concert is an event perfect for the whole family. For children who have never attended a concert before, the experience of a first live show can create memories that last a lifetime. Parents who want to make their child’s first concert experience a positive one should consider the following helpful tips.
Before the Concert
1. Make sure that the child is well prepared for the concert experience
Many parents and professionals have differing opinions on the “right” age to take a child to his or her first concert, as there are many factors to consider, including a child’s interest level in music, the venue and style of musical show, and the child’s ability to focus for long periods of time. No matter the type of musical performance, parents should determine whether their children have enough of an interest in music to sit through the majority of a show, and whether the child is ready and able to enjoy this particular kind of experience. There is no universally applicable rule to this decision, so parents should use their best judgment in deciding what is right for their children on an individual basis.
2. Explain the structure of the concert
Before the day of the concert, parents should educate their child about what they can expect to see at the event. For example, if the headlining band has an opening act, children should know ahead of time that there may be a waiting period before the headliner comes on stage. It is also important to let them know what the atmosphere of the concert will be like ahead of time, to prepare them for an unfamiliar environment. If the venue will be loud, crowded, and full of energy, a child who expects to encounter that kind of atmosphere may be better equipped to handle it. Additionally, if the child knows only a few of the band’s songs, it can be helpful for parents to play more of the band’s music around the house or in the car in the weeks leading up to the event. Familiarity with a wider range of songs can help keep children from being bored or disappointed at the show.
The Day of the Concert
1. Be prepared
On the day of the concert, parents should arrive at the venue fully prepared for the evening. This means that children should be fed and should have gotten enough sleep the night before so they are as physically comfortable as possible during the show. Parents should also seriously consider bringing a set of ear plugs for their children to wear during loud concerts, as some members of the medical community have expressed concern over hearing damage to children’s ears at music shows. Additionally, parents must be prepared to leave the concert at a moment’s notice in the event that the child becomes overwhelmed, overly tired, or is generally unhappy.
2. Choose an emergency meeting place
Another important thing that parents must do on the day of a child’s first concert is to establish protocol for what to do should they become separated. Parents should choose a meeting place in the venue and show their child how to locate it. It can be helpful for parents to write the meeting place down on a slip of paper and have the child tuck it into his or her pocket as an extra precaution. While accidents happen, the best option is for parents to make sure to keep a close eye on their child during the concert at all times.
After the Concert
1. Ask your child engaging questions about the show
Once the concert is over, parents should make sure to ask their children questions about the experience. Questioning a child about his or her favorite part of the show, favorite songs from the set, and opinion of the overall experience can bring parents and kids closer together. A child’s first concert is an exciting, memorable event, so he or she will likely have plenty of things to say about it afterward.
2. Encourage a child who comes away from a concert with an interest in music
Going to a live concert for the first time can be an experience that inspires children to make music of their own. Parents should help their children explore their own musical interests long after the concert has passed by offering to take them to music lessons or allowing them to try out different instruments at a music store. Playing an instrument is an enriching hobby that can provide many benefits in a young child’s life, and parents should do what they can to cultivate a child’s interest in the subject if given the opportunity.