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Editor’s note: It’s been a depleting week for America. Following the U.S. Presidential Election, 60 million of us are devastated. Maybe more of us who didn’t or couldn’t vote. We are anxious about proposed future policies that could erode the safety and well-being of already under-served populations. We have lived with racism, sexism and xenophobia for a long time. But this shocking show of support for a candidate who says ugly, ugly things about women, immigrants, and people of color is tragic and disheartening. It will be essential that we all come up with our own Hundred Day plans, small and grand things each of us can DO. Perhaps this is something some of us can do with families and friends over the Thanksgiving weekend. Recharge and refocus so we are ready for January… and for the 2018 mid-term elections.

For everybody who will be traveling to recharge with families NEXT week, this week’s installment offers ideas on how to make short and long treks with kids more fun, more musical, and more harmonious. Lissa Schneckenburger and her husband Corey DiMario have logged many miles, and now their young son accompanies them on tour. Music has always been a big part of their own travel rituals. Here are Lissa’s simple and effective tips on how to use music as a base for (mostly) joyous journeys:

Listen to music!
We listen to a lot of music together–not all kid music. Michael Jackson is our number one favorite, good for any season or mood. And for hip hop with a kid, “The Low End Theory” by Tribe Called Quest is mostly profanity free (I think we skip two or three songs, and the rest of the album is totally appropriate).

Ed. note: the newest Tribe Called Quest album has a lot of joyous moments, too… though give a listen sans kids first.

Matt Heaton’s kid music picks are all right up there for us. And we’re also a big fan of Rosenshontz,“I’ll Never Forget” by the Amidon family, and kid music by John McCutcheon and Pete Seeger.

Engage in music
Learning favorite songs together is a great way to pass the time- my son recently fell in love with the song “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons. Much to my embarrassment I seem to have memorized all the lyrics along with him!

Car Selfies can enliven travel time

Car Selfies can enliven travel time

Let your kid have his own music world
Our son’s iPod is loaded up with his favorite music. He has comfortable, safe headphones, and he knows how to find his songs and albums. We also do a lot of audio stories. We LOVE story teller Kevin Carr’s album called “The King of the Pipers.”

Take photos
Two words: car selfies. Great distraction technique, helps change a mood inst

Take a break from music to play other games
Play the Alphabet Game… your way!  Promoted by generations of parents before me, I find refocusing attention on tiny details (like finding each letter of the alphabet on passing road signs in the correct order) helps us all forget when we start to get hungry and tired from the trip. The game can be dressed up or down for any age or reading level.

Count. No, seriously. When my son was little, counting to 100 together was riveting. Now that he’s older he will calmly and happily count well into the 500s. We’ll challenge him to see how many seconds will pass before we arrive at our destination. And when that gets boring, we count in Spanish! This can easily morph into taking turns asking each other math problems, which takes attention away from restlessness and back/butt pains!

Viewing The Egg on tour in Chicago

Viewing The Egg on tour in Chicago

Arrive early
We routinely leave so that we can get where we’re going with enough time to enjoy our surroundings once we get there.  An hour outside at a cool new park or playground can restore anyone’s sanity after being cooped up on a travel day.

Pack the fun bag before packing PJs!
We never leave home without a special activity bag stocked with paper, crayons, books, and stickers. Pro tip: add wipes and a Zen mindset for when blossoming artists inevitably decide the whole world is a canvas.

So… How do you keep travel harmonious?

lissa-portrait-bio-250Lissa Schneckenburger  began playing fiddle at the age of six, in a small town in Maine. She’s a dynamic instrumentalist, and her sweet voice brings fresh life to traditional ballads. Her husband Corey DiMario is a fine bassist, tenor guitar player, and gardening assistant. Check out Lissa’s beautiful CDs and hear Lissa this weekend with Childsplay!

Leap, Little Frog

a musician's musings on nesting, being creative, traveling, and parenting