Family life

Taylor Swift, here we come!: My kids' first concert

How do you prepare young kids for their first "real" concert?

By Tracy Chappell

Taylor Swift, here we come!: My kids' first concert

The countdown is on. In just 13 days, my daughters, two nieces, sister and I will find ourselves amongst a screaming gaggle of girls at a Taylor Swift concert. It’s not a place I ever imagined myself — and certainly not when my daughters are only seven and almost-five.

I’ve always been a fan of rock music. My first concert — when I was 16 — was Bon Jovi’s New Jersey tour. It was one of those near-religious experiences, and while I have a terrible memory for most things, it still lives so vividly in my memory. My friends and I adored all the big-haired glam-rockers — Aerosmith, Motley Crue, KISS, Guns n’ Roses, etc. — and saved up our babysitting money for bus trips to their concerts.

I’m not exactly sure how my girls joined Taylor Nation (yes, I’m on the email list). I blame myself. I think my dedication to music derailed after having kids, when I just craved SILENCE more than anything. So I wasn’t exposing them to anything that I particularly loved, just throwing on the radio to something that wasn’t riddled with swear words and misogynistic undertones.

Everything changed the day Sean came home from a staff sale at work (then, he worked for a book and music retailer) with a bag full of stuff that they were practically giving away. Inside was a Taylor Swift CD. He wasn’t sure why he threw it in the bag, but said he thought the girls might like it. We weren’t familiar with her music, so I shrugged and put it on.

That was it. They adored it. For a while, we listened to little else. That is, until we got her next CD, just for some variety. That sealed the deal. Soon enough, I found myself singing all the words, too. There was no fighting it. I was happy they’d found something they enjoyed (both of them — hallelujah!), and the upside was that Taylor was pretty harmless, message-wise, so I wasn’t having to explain Rihanna-esque lyrics to my impressionable little cherubs.

Raising two hard-core pop-music lovers isn’t what I imagined, but watching them enjoy music is so much fun. And there’s still hope. After all, I grew up loving Taylor’s 1980s equivalents, Debbie Gibson and Tiffany. Now that my girls are getting older, I find myself playing music I like in the house again. Their tastes are evolving too — Anna loves The Beatles; Avery loves Amy Winehouse.

And even though I debated if they were too young to be going to their first “real” concert, I couldn’t resist, especially with my sister on board and my parents offering to get the tickets for all the girls as a Christmas gift. It was such an exciting build-up to the holidays for us, anticipating their reaction.

So now to prepare Anna and Avery for something unlike anything they’ve ever experienced: The noise, the crowd, the very late night. Can I manage to get them down for a nap that day? Should I bring ear plugs? I’d love any advice if you’ve been to a concert like this with your kids. Since our comments are turned off, tweet me @T_Chappell.

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