The average school-age child in the US spends 7 and a half hours a day in front of a digital device, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. As a parent, you want your kids to have access to the technology they need to succeed in school and prepare for successful careers.

However, you also want them to lead balanced lives and appreciate the value of inexpensive and enriching offline activities.

Encouraging the moderate use of media gives your children more opportunities for interactions and experiences that are essential for healthy development. Take a look at the benefits of disconnecting, and ideas for what to do when you’re offline.

Benefits of Electronic-Free Activities:

1. Shape up. Too much time sitting in front of screens increases the risk of obesity. Give your children a head start on making exercise a regular part of their routine.

2. Sleep well. Bright screens and mental stimulation interfere with good quality rest and sleep. Set a curfew so electronic devices are turned off at least 2 hours before bedtime.

3. Promote learning. Digital devices can deliver excellent educational content, but a steady diet of empty entertainment or texting can distract from studying. Help your child keep their mind on their schoolwork.

4. Manage behavior issues. Using media wisely helps prevent aggression, substance abuse, and other risky activities. It also promotes the development of important social and communication skills.

5. Save money. Maybe you have trouble affording the latest devices. Inexpensive activities teach kids how to value relationships and creativity rather than material possessions.

Ideas for Electronic-Free Indoor Activities:

1. Make music. Your kids probably know how to stream music, but can they play an instrument or sing? Introduce them to the joys of expressing themselves through music.

2. Do crafts. Collect household items or visit an art supply store so you have supplies on hand to do arts and crafts anytime. Practice making origami animals or holiday ornaments.

3. Play board games. Pull out your old favorites or shop for new versions. Spend an evening with Monopoly instead of watching a movie.

4. Put on a play. Create your own productions. Turn a large cardboard box into a puppet theatre. Read a play out loud with each family member taking a different role.

5. Cook dinner. Prepare meals together. Even small children can rinse fruit or tear up salad greens.

Ideas for Electronic-Free Outdoor Activities:

1. Go for a walk. Make it a habit to take a walk around the neighborhood after dinner. Walking is a gentle form of exercise your children will be able to do anywhere with no special equipment needed.

2. Toss a Frisbee. A Frisbee makes it fun to move around, and even your dog can master the rules. For more variety, stock up on other simple toys like hula hoops and jump ropes.

3. Plant a garden. Grow your own vegetables and flowers. Gardening teaches your kids where food comes from and how to work with others.

4. Take a dip. Having an in-ground pool isn’t the only way to enjoy the water. Let your kids ride their bikes while you spray a hose around them.

5. Visit the library. Libraries are a community gathering place. In addition to bringing home books, check out the calendar for special events.

6. Camp out. Pick a campground that suits your idea of roughing it or just sleep in your backyard. Toast marshmallows and tell ghost stories.

In a digital age, your kids are bound to be surrounded by computers, smart phones, and televisions. Show them that it’s possible to have fun without any screens involved, and carve out boundaries to keep the overuse of technology from interfering with healthy development.

Do your children attract colds the way a bird feeder makes hungry squirrels come running? With some simple precautions, you may be able to keep your children free from infections this cold and flu season, or at least relieve their symptoms faster and reduce their number of sick days.

While adults average only about 2 to 4 colds a year, many children have 10 or more, especially if they’re in close contact with other little ones at school or day care centers. If you want to beat those odds, take a look at this guide to preventing colds.

Fighting Colds by Encouraging Cleanliness:

1. Wash your hands. The most effective way to stop colds is to keep your hands clean, and keep them away from your face, especially your eyes. Teach your children to wash their hands frequently with soap for about 20 seconds at a time.

2. Check your nails. Remember to scrub under fingernails too, because that’s where germs get trapped. Keep your child’s nails trimmed short and use a nail brush to be thorough.

3. Switch your towels. A dirty towel will undo all your good intentions. Consider using disposable towels, or wash cloth towels daily, when a family member is ill.

4. Disinfect toys. Stuffed toys and other playthings can transfer germs too. Clean hard surfaces with diluted bleach. Hand wash teddy bears or put them in a plastic bag with baking soda, and give them a shake.

5. Limit sharing. Show your child how to share safely. Train them to use their own drinking glass and water bottle.

Fighting Colds by Changing How You Feed Your Kids:

1. Eat up. Starving a cold is a myth. Serve your child a balanced and nutritious diet that will keep their energy up.

2. Stay hydrated. Drinking lots of liquids is good advice. Water or tea will loosen up congestion, and warm beverages feel good on scratchy throats.

3. Sip soup. Chicken soup is another home remedy that makes sense. In addition to keeping your child hydrated, it provides essential nutrients.

4. Try vitamins. A number of studies suggest that products with ingredients like vitamin C or zinc may not provide any special benefits. However, if you don’t mind the cost, you might want to see if they work for you.

Other Strategies for Fighting Colds:

1. Use a humidifier. Humidifiers can reduce coughing and make it easier to breathe by adding moisture to dry winter air. Clean them regularly to avoid mold.

2. Gargle with saltwater. Your probably know that salt can soothe a sore throat, but it may also prevent colds in the first place. Some studies show that even gargling with plain water leads to fewer colds, and it costs nothing.

3. Cover your mouth. Encourage your child to cover their mouth when they cough or sneeze. Germs are more easily transmitted by touch than by air, but it’s still the polite thing to do.

4. Warm your feet. Many studies have cast doubt on the belief that you’ll catch a cold if you go outside without a coat or hat. On the other hand, there is some evidence that keeping your feet warm helps, so let your kids wear footed pajamas or socks to bed.

5. Play outdoors. Whatever they wear, your children will benefit from spending time outdoors. Some research suggests that vitamin D supplements reduce the risk of infection by 10%, and sunshine can have similar effects.

Practicing good hygiene and eating lots of chicken soup will help your child to avoid colds or recover faster. Either way, your whole family could have fewer sore throats and runny noses this winter.

If you want to keep your love alive, it’s important to work at nurturing your relationship. Sometimes that means a grand gesture, and sometimes it’s a matter of paying attention to the small stuff. Otherwise, you may start taking each other for granted and drift apart.

Whether you’re newlyweds or you’ve been living together for many years, you can keep your connection strong. Try these romantic and practical ideas for showing your partner just how much they mean to you.

Romantic Ways to Show Your Partner How Much You Love Them:

1. Display affection. Greet your partner warmly each time they come home. Hold hands at the movies or walking around the neighborhood.

2. Write love notes. Create your own poetry or borrow quotations from Keats and Neruda. Stick Post-its with sentimental messages on the bathroom mirror or kitchen coffee pot. Put a love letter in your spouse’s luggage when they leave on a business trip.

3. Shower them with gifts. Presents can be inexpensive as long as they’re thoughtful. Bring home a movie your wife will love or a new novel by her favorite author. Buy your husband scented lip balm or drive across town to get the brand of salsa he prefers.

4. Spring a surprise. Wake up early and serve breakfast in bed on an otherwise routine weekday morning. Send your children to their grandparent’s house for the weekend, and spend a couple of quiet days together.

5. Laugh it up. It’s okay to have fun while you’re working on your relationship. Feel free to be silly. Sing songs from old commercials or dress up like a ghost. Reminisce about the blunders you made on your first date or during your early attempts at parenting.

6. Share your dreams. Talk about your plans and goals. Common values are even more important than liking the same pastimes.

7. Arrange date nights. Take turns planning a date night each week. You need some couple time away from children and chores.

Practical Ways to Show Your Partner How Much You Love Them:

1. Listen closely. Knowing your partner will help you speak their love language. Validate their feelings and concerns. Try to understand their perspective even when you disagree.

2. Do chores. Sharing the housework speaks volumes about your love and respect for each other. Claim the tasks you excel at or take turns.

3. Apologize promptly. Acknowledge your mistakes and learn from them. Be quick to forgive when your partner has a lapse.

4. Cheer them on. Give each other your full support. Listen actively and ask questions when your spouse describes their current projects. Celebrate their victories and empathize with their setbacks.

5. Work out together. Staying fit can give you more years to spend together. Sign up for a family or couple’s gym membership. Search for a sport that you both enjoy such as volleyball or tennis. Build a workout area at home where you can train together even on rainy days.

6. Find a hobby. Make your leisure time more enriching and develop interests that will draw you closer together. If you both love astronomy, buy a telescope, become members at your local science museum, and visit observatories when you travel.

7. Give each other space. While it’s important to spend time together, each of us needs our independence too. Let your partner know it’s okay when they want to spend some time alone or hang out with their friends.

8. Keep growing. Developing your potential may be the most profound way to express your love. The more you have, the more you can contribute to your relationship.

Maintain the magic in your relationship by asking yourself how you can make your spouse feel special. Loving words and actions will help keep you strong and united.

As a parent, you want your kids to have happiness, health, and success. Even if you don’t have a magic wand you can wave, you have the power to bring these things about by influencing the way your children think. One good place to start is by encouraging optimism.

A positive outlook boosts your immune system and helps you to live longer. When you look on the bright side, you build up your resilience and achieve more.

If that’s the kind of legacy you want to pass on to your children, consider these strategies. They’ll help you to raise optimistic sons and daughters.

Steps for You to Take Yourself:

1. Be a role model. Your children will follow your example. The more you demonstrate the power of optimism, the more likely they are to pick up on your sunny outlook.

2. Accentuate the positive. Make it a habit to focus on the upside of any situation. Transform disappointments and irritations by turning them into lessons. If a camping trip gets rained out, show your children how to be flexible. Pitch your tent in your living room.

3. Show gratitude. Counting your blessings helps you to see the world as a friendly place. List the things you have to be thankful for.

4. Choose empowering words. How often do you catch yourself complaining? Replace defeatist statements with positive affirmations.

5. Be realistic. Optimism needs to be grounded in facts. Acknowledge challenges while you focus on solutions.

6. Take action. Optimism also needs to be backed up by action in order to succeed. Seize control of your life and remember that you can handle anything that comes your way.

Steps to Take with Your Children:

1. Set high expectations. Children build confidence by living up to the responsibilities you give them. Teach them to believe in their abilities to excel at school, play sports, and make friends.

2. Encourage independence. It’s natural to want to intervene when your child is hurting. On the other hand, they grow more when you step back and let them fix their own challenges.

3. Take risks. Reward your child for taking sensible risks. Give them credit for speaking up in class or trying to ski for the first time.

4. Leverage strengths. Notice what your child likes to do and what they’re good at. When they succeed at a task, help them to analyze what they did well, and how they can build on their achievements.

5. Learn from experience. When your child has a setback, talk about what they can do differently next time. Help them see that their sadness or frustration is temporary.

6. Engage in creative play. Feed your child’s imagination with activities that help them to express themselves and develop their skills. Build a theatre out of a cardboard box so you can put on puppet shows. Paint pictures and do crafts. Creative thinking stirs up hopes and dreams.

7. Share affection. Studies show that children who receive plenty of love and affection feel more secure about their future. Listen closely to what your child has to say so they’ll know that they’re important to you. Hug them when they leave for school in the morning and come home in the afternoon.

8. Give praise. Positive reinforcement will help your children to value themselves and develop constructive habits. Tell them that you’re proud of them for studying hard and being kind to their neighbors.

Optimists are made, not born, so you can teach your children to see the glass as half full. Positive thinking will help them to make sound decisions and deal effectively with life’s challenges.

Integrity is important, but increasingly rare today. The people that make the news often earn that publicity by their lack of integrity. It can be challenging to successfully teach your children that the opposite of the behavior they see is the ideal.

However, as a parent, you have tremendous amount of influence and a largely captive audience.

You can overcome the momentum of society and prepare your child for a life of integrity:

1. Avoid asking your children to lie for you. These lies seem innocent enough. You might ask your child to tell the salesperson on the phone that you’re not home. Or to tell their friend that they left the other child’s birthday present at home, when you actually forgot to purchase it.

* When you ask your child to lie, you’re demonstrating that lying is okay under certain circumstances. It’s not easy to determine when lying is acceptable and when it is not. It’s easiest to just avoid lying. You’ll also eventually find yourself on the other side of those same lies.

2. Avoid allowing your children to witness you lying. When your children see you being dishonest, they’ll either conclude that lying is acceptable or that you’re not an honorable person.

* No one is honest 100% of the time, but that doesn’t mean your children need to see you lie during their childhood.

* Consider the impact of lying in front of your children before you do it.

3. Drive the speed limit. This is a tough one for many, but a law is a law. How can you explain to your child that some laws are acceptable to break while others are not? You might have to leave the house a few minutes earlier, but some things are more important than driving quickly.

4. Explain the disadvantages of dishonesty. Lying can seem like an easy way out. So, it’s important to explain why dishonesty can create problems. Here are a few reasons to get you started:

* People will doubt your honesty in the future if you get caught.
* You can hurt the feelings of others.
* Lying to the wrong people can hurt you in school, at work, or with the police.

5. Set a good example. Your kids might not be hanging on your every word, but they are certainly keeping an eye on you. They notice when you do something that you told them not to do themselves.

* The easiest way to teach integrity is to model it. You already know what’s right and wrong. All you have to do is live it. Your children will see it and adopt similar behaviors.

* Have you noticed how many habits, behaviors, and attitudes you’ve adopted from your own parents? You might not be happy about it, but you can expect the same thing to happen with your own children. Plan ahead and set a great example!

6. Develop a sense of responsibility in your child. Every child over the age of three can have a couple of simple chores and put their dirty clothes in the hamper. Require your children to keep their word. Make them responsible for their chores, their word, and their actions. Consider reasonable rewards and punishments depending on the situation.

Teaching your child integrity is an important parental responsibility. It’s not a short-term activity. Teaching integrity is something that you do each day through your words and actions. Setting a good example for your children is half the battle. Give your children this gift and make integrity a priority in your family.

What are mornings like at your house? Maybe you’re running late and the kids are cranky. It seems like the more you nag, the slower they move. Do you feel like you’ve put in a full day’s work before you even sit down at your desk?

Imagine how different your life would be if you could stay on schedule and start the day in a happier mood.

Make mornings easier by following this simple checklist.

Steps to Take Yourself:

1. Assess sleep needs. If you and the rest of your family are tired each morning, you’re probably not getting enough sleep. Try an earlier bedtime.

2. Prepare the night before. Accomplish as much as you can the night before so you’re less rushed in the morning. Pack lunches and confirm that homework assignments are completed. Lay out your children’s clothes and shoes.

3. Set priorities. Shorten your to-do list. Focus on the essentials and be flexible about the details. Let your kids style their hair their way as long as it’s clean.

4. Stay organized. Create systems that keep things running smoothly. Post a central calendar. Put out bins where your kids can deposit backpacks and bike helmets when they come in the door.

5. Budget extra time. Plan for delays. Give yourself 15 more minutes than you need so you’ll arrive at work on time even if you have to look for a missing toy.

6. Get up first. Enjoy a few minutes of peace before the rest of the family gets up. Taking care of yourself first will make it easier to deal with anything that comes up.

7. Stay calm. Your children will follow the example you set. Take a deep breath and keep smiling.

Steps to Take with Your Children:

1. Focus on connecting. Transitions are especially challenging for children. Pay attention to their feelings so you can be encouraging and supportive. Be patient guiding them through tying shoe laces and pouring milk. Hug them and thank them for their efforts.

2. Offer choices. Being presented with options is more pleasant than taking orders. Ask your son which shirt he wants to wear. Discuss whether your daughter would rather brush her teeth or comb her hair first.

3. Share responsibility. Give each family member a chance to weigh in. Assign tasks based on their age and abilities.

4. Create incentives. Show your kids that good behavior pays off. If you manage to leave the house earlier than planned, stop for hot chocolate on the way to school.

5. Rehearse your roles. On the other hand, if your system still needs some tweaking, practice your moves at a time when you’re feeling less pressured. Schedule a drill on Saturday afternoon.

6. Eat breakfast. A nutritious breakfast gives you energy and helps you to think more clearly. If possible, sit down together to share your meal. If that doesn’t work out, prepare something you can eat in the car, like smoothies or bean burritos.

7. Turn off the TV. Minimize distractions. Keep the TV off and check phones or computers only for necessities like urgent emails or the weather report.

8. Have fun. While you’re juggling so many different responsibilities, remember to enjoy any hours you spend together as a family. Find something to laugh about or race each other to the car.

Put an end to morning madness. The way your family spends the early hours sets the tone for the rest of the day. Look for ways to simplify your morning routine and let your children know you appreciate their cooperation in getting up and out the door as smoothly as possible.

If you’re like a lot of adults, your favorite childhood memories probably include swimming in lakes and building forts in your backyard. That’s less true for children today.

Only 6% of children ages 9 to 13 play outside on their own in a typical week, according to The Nature Conservancy. Among preschoolers, almost half aren’t taken outside by their parents for a walk or playtime each day, says a study published in the journal Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

That same study found that the factors affecting outdoor play probably aren’t what you’d expect. Family income, neighborhood safety, and hours spent watching TV had little effect. What mattered was having plenty of playmates and parents who exercised regularly.

What can you do to help your kids spend more time outdoors? Take a look at these ideas for encouraging your children to go outside.

Benefits of Outdoor Play

1. Build healthy bodies. Sun exposure provides Vitamin D, which builds strong bones. Physical activity also promotes motor skills and agility.

2. Develop strong minds. Spending time outdoors has been found to stimulate creative thinking, problem solving abilities, and higher IQ scores. It’s good for mental health at any age.

3. Connect with nature. Direct contact with plants and animals can help children to understand and value the environment. They’ll be more likely to make responsible choices as they grow up.

Outdoor Activities Close to Home:

1. Add water. Kids love getting wet. Even if you can’t build an inground pool, you can spray the hose for your kids to run through.

2. Do messy crafts. Paints and markers can be tough on your living room furniture, but almost anything goes outdoors. Draw chalk game boards on your driveway. Create clay vases or paper mache animals. Fool around with face painting or tie dying.

3. Eat al fresco. Meals give you at least 3 opportunities a day to pull up a chair outdoors. Serve breakfast on your deck, and make lunch a picnic on the grass.

4. Talk with your school. Many schools have cut back on recess time. Advocate for recess, outdoor sports, and other programs that help students spend time outdoors.

5. Limit hours online. While moderate TV time is usually okay, observe reasonable boundaries. Set a curfew on any screen time before bed, and limit internet usage apart from schoolwork.

6. Allow for downtime. How many activities are your children enrolled in? Block out hours for unstructured play in between dance lessons, language classes, and science labs.

Outdoor Activities Away from Home:

1. Take a hike. Walking and hiking are great exercise at little expense. Keep comfortable shoes in your car so you can go exploring when you come across something interesting.

2. Visit a park. Take advantage of local and national parks. Look up what amenities they offer like pools, fountains, and workout circuits.

3. Go camping. Invest in some tents and other basic gear to see if your family likes sleeping outdoors. You can plan longer and more adventurous trips as you become more experienced..

4. Plan active vacations. How many vacation days do you have saved up? Choose destinations where your family can spend significant time outdoors. Go snorkeling in the ocean or skiing in the mountains.

5. Ride your bikes. Take your bikes out for leisure trips or even to run some errands. Check out the bike trails in your community, and make sure to wear your helmets.

Help your children to enjoy more fresh air and unstructured play in the great outdoors. They’ll be likely to grow up happier and healthier, and achieve more.

The best time to learn life lessons is in childhood, before poor habits are developed. Now is the perfect time to teach your children essential truths that lead to a happy and successful life.

Consider the things you wish your parents had taught you when you were younger. How would your life differ from today? What can you teach your child that will help them for the rest of their lives?

Teach your child how to happy and successful:

1. Be a good winner and a good loser. Everyone wins and loses. It’s important to do both well. Those that win and lose poorly struggle later in life. The winning and losing never stop. It makes life easier when you learn how to do both gracefully at an early age.

2. Learn to finish things. Teach your child to follow through to completion. It doesn’t matter if the task is cleaning their room, raking leaves, or playing a game. Adults with the habit of leaving things undone lead chaotic lives. Finish and then move on to the next task.

3. Tell the truth. Lying is another bad habit. It might feel like a viable solution in the short-term, but it fails in the long-term. Lying is a crutch that creates greater challenges and unnecessary drama. Telling the truth is easier on many levels.

4. It’s okay to fail. Failure is one of the most efficient ways to learn. You make an attempt, come up short, and readjust your approach. Children that are afraid of failing are stifled as adults. Life is too short to hide from every opportunity that might result in a failure.

5. Persistence wins. The person who never quits always seems to win in the long-term.

6. Have goals. A child’s goal might be to get an A on a test or be nice to his sister for the rest of the evening. Having an intention leads to success. Without goals, we’re at risk of wandering aimlessly through life. Ask your child what they want to accomplish today and help them understand how they can achieve it.

7. Say please and thank you. Everyone is worthy of a certain amount of respect. Saying please and thank you regularly is one way of demonstrating that respect.

8. Success requires work. Success at school, sports, work, family life, and relationships require work. Nothing is automatic. A little effort each day is necessary for success in any part of life.

9. Eat well and exercise regularly. Imagine how much better you’d feel if you had spent the last 20 years eating well and exercising consistently. Habits developed in childhood can last a lifetime. Give your child a fighting chance to avoid obesity and the associated health issues.

10. Save your money. If everyone consistently saved 15% of their paycheck, 95% of the financial challenges people face could be avoided or easily eliminated. How much could you have saved since you started working? Force your child to save a portion of any money they receive and explain why it’s important.

Even if your child is still young, there is much you can teach them. Children trust their parents. There’s never going to be a better time to impart these lessons to your child. Consider what everyone needs to know in order to be successful and live an enjoyable life. Begin teaching your child today.

Whether your loved one is dealing with an illness, addiction, career change, or other serious issue, it’s hard to watch them suffer. You want to wave a magic wand that makes them happy and solves their issues. However, you don’t have a magic wand. So what can you do?

When your loved one is struggling, you can help in several ways:

1. Avoid letting your fear take over. You may be incredibly worried and concerned, but fear can make things more difficult. It can cloud your judgment and make you choose the wrong path to help those you care about. Ensure that fear isn’t affecting your decisions.

2. Listen to their wishes. Your loved ones may want to talk about big decisions. It’s important to refrain from interrupting them or stop the conversation. As their support system, one of the best things you can do is to listen and pay attention to what they want to say.

* They may say things that are hard to hear. They may discuss how they want to handle their illness or addiction. They may talk about relocating for a new job or trying a different career path.

* Avoid the impulse to judge, criticize, or argue. Your loved ones need to feel comfortable sharing their thoughts with you. You may be the only support they have right now.

3. Recognize that you can’t fix everything. It’s tempting to rush around and try to end their suffering, but it’s not possible for you to fix everything in someone else’s life.

* Accept the limitations and try to make the best of the situation. Understand that sometimes your loved one needs to be in charge and make their own decisions.

4. Ask for help. You don’t have to do everything alone. Asking for help doesn’t mean you’re weak. Many times, it takes great strength to ask for help.

* You may be using a great deal of energy to help your loved one. To be at your best, take time to take care of yourself, too. If you’re sick, worn out or tired, then you can’t be an effective helper.

* Reach out to others to grow your network of support so you can get help when it’s necessary.

5. Be careful how you try to cheer them up. One of your natural responses may be to try to cheer up your loved one. However, this may not work out well. Be sensitive to their emotions.

* If you try to show them pictures or videos of happier times, they may become sadder.

* If you try to invite friends over and throw a party, they may feel uncomfortable and out of place.

* Even comfort food may not be effective in cheering them up. They may be on a special diet or have difficulty eating. Your cooking efforts may be wasted, and you may end up resenting the time you spend making special dishes.

* Before you jump in and try to cheer up others, stop and think about how they really feel.

You can reduce the suffering of your loved one. You have the power and the ability to lighten their burden. Try these techniques to help you both get through this challenging time.

Are you a parent who’s concerned that your children may be missing out when it comes to music education? Budget cuts in arts programs at public schools could limit your child’s opportunities to play an instrument or learn about the great composers.

Help your child discover how music can enrich their life. Take a look at the benefits of raising a music lover, and find out how to share your love of music with your child.

Benefits of Music Education:

1. Enhance academic performance. Some studies have shown that kids who can play instruments receive higher SAT scores. Engaging with music involves math, science, and memory skills, as well as motor coordination.

2. Explore other cultures. Even if your knowledge of French is limited to Frere Jacques, you realize how rhymes make it easier to speak other languages. Music also provides a window into how others live around the world.

3. Promote teamwork. Bands and orchestras collaborate and resolve challenges. Each member waits their turn and respects the others’ contributions.

4. Teach delayed gratification. Video games like Guitar Hero may be fun, but they don’t really teach you to play guitar. Kids who practice with a real instrument experience the rewards of perseverance.

5. Build confidence. Racking up tangible accomplishments boosts self-esteem. Performing before a live audience can also be an early lesson in leadership and presentation abilities.

Encouraging Your Child’s Music Appreciation:

1. Start early. Many experts think that the capacity for musical sensibility peaks between birth and age, nine so use age-appropriate methods. Your baby loves the sound of your voice, so chant while you rock them. Encourage your toddler to make noise with homemade shakers and drums.

2. Sing together. Babies will often mimic any sound you make, while slightly older kids will enjoy silly songs. By the time they’re ready for elementary school, you can start introducing simple concepts like tempo and beat.

3. Share activities. Keep it interesting with crafts and outings. Draw pictures of instruments to color, and check neighborhood calendars for children’s performances.

4. Broaden their exposure. Drench your home in pleasant sounds. Play classical music and jazz on the radio. Offer sheet music and books.

Supporting Your Child’s Music Studies:

1. Talk with the teacher. Choose a music instructor with a warm personality who can describe their lesson plan in convincing detail. Ask them how you can assist your child, especially if you don’t know much about music yourself.

2. Attend classes. Your child might feel more comfortable if you go with them to classes at first. Try to observe closely without distracting them from listening to the teacher.

3. Praise effort. Let your child know you recognize their progress. Be specific about what they’re doing well, whether it’s practicing on a daily basis or playing an entire piece without hitting a single wrong note.

4. Show enthusiasm. Show up for each performance that you possibly can. Give a big round of applause and take pictures for posterity. Help your child stay on track by engaging them in setting daily goals and figuring out activities of their own for holiday breaks and summer vacation.

5. Make it fun. Remember that the main purpose is to help your child enjoy music, so let them decide how far they want to go. Let them know you love them just as much if they want to trade in their piano lessons for horseback riding.

Make symphonies and pop songs part of your family activities. Increasing your child’s understanding of music will enhance their performance in many arenas, and give them a source of joy and relaxation they can count on throughout their lives.