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

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

The concert is marked down on the family calendar.

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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