Tag Archives: family

Holy shit, Schools out! All the feels.

It’s that time of year, in-tune parents: The end of the school year.

We’re all excited, right? No wait. We’re all terrified we’ll never have a moment alone again. That’s right, right? Maybe we’re all sad our babies are becoming less baby-faced with every graduation. That seems more right. But the truth is: We’re all feeling a lot of things at once.

And if we feel that way, imagine how our kids feel right about now.

The end-of-year transition is even bigger for them. They go from the baby room into the two’s room, or from third grade into fourth grade, or (like one of mine) from elementary school to middle school.

What can we do to help them through this time?
And to help ourselves along with them?

We need to pause.

 

That’s not easy for me to do. During this frenzied time, the last thing I tend to do is pause. My wheels keep spinning all through the night. And during the day I am planning, packing and working ever so much harder until that last school bell rings.

But, listen: Summer can wait a minute. Eventually our plans will come together – more or less – and we will pack what we need , and probably forget the most important thing like usual. (It’s always the extra phone charger and the razor. Comment below and tell me your always-forgotten items.) There I go, spinning thoughts whirling again. We all need to learn how to pause so we can do the most important thing …

… help our kids pause.

4 Steps to Help Children Transition to Summer

1. Talk to them about the transition.

They are certainly feeling it, so you might as well name it. Naming the elephant in the room will dissipate the energy a bit.

Don’t: Introduce the transition as inherently anxiety ridden. Give them the space to reflect on their experience.

 

2. Ask them how they are feeling.

Find a quiet moment with your child and open the conversation with questions like these:
“How are you feeling now that schools out?”
“How does it feel to be leaving your friends for the summer?”
“How do you feel about going on this trip soon?”
“What are you feeling about starting camp?

Don’t: Ask leading questions like :
“Are you excited to start camp soon?”
“Are you sad about school ending?”

 

3. Follow up with detail-oriented questions.

If the answer is just “Good” or “Fine,” then you may need to ask questions a therapist asks like:
“And how does it make you feel?”
“What came up for you when that happened?”
“Where do you feel it in your body?”

Don’t: Think that’s all there is to it. There’s usually more beneath the surface.

 

4. Sit with their feelings and/or mirror their feelings back.

The best listeners also mirror back feelings in order to show the speaker that we fully understand and that we are listening. For example:

*Example A
Child: “I am sad to leave my friends.”
Parent: “Sometimes it is sad to leave friends we have been with for a while.”

*Example B
Child: “I won’t ever be able to win Student of the Day.”
Parent: “That sounds hard.”

Don’t: Start your sentence with BUT.

*Example A
Child: “I’m going to miss my teachers.”
Parent: “But you’ll see them again next year probably.”

*Example B
Child: “I don’t want to go on the trip”
Parent: “But we’ll have so much fun!”

 

Now here’s the important part about all of this: The answers might be difficult for us.

They might mirror our own anxiety about the transition. And they may even put a judgment on an upcoming activity.

Our job is to hear their feelings without letting our own feelings get in the way. Meaning, we need to purely to be an ear to the expression of their emotions without judgment of our own on their feelings. Children have an amazing ability to express how they are feeling without feeling a positive or negative judgment about it.

Let them show you how.

So parents, your task for this week is to Pause.

Notice your (and your child’s) anxiety about the transition and then talk to them about it. Remember the importance of being nonjudgmental. I wouldn’t judge you for being annoyed you have to go to the coast of Maine and spend time eating lobster with your in-laws. And you won’t judge your own kids for feeling psyched about that same trip.

Have you already noticed conflicted feelings in your family about summer plans? Comment and share how you’re trying to see all sides.

Know parents who would be relieved to pause? Send this post their way before the Last Day of School sneaks up on us all. They can sign up for the Tuesday Tune In below.

Love this blog and would like to receive more to your inbox?

Yes! Please send me more of the Tuesday Tune-In!

Facebook
Instagram

5 musical family activities

Dear tuned in parents,

Today is all about family fun.

Most of you connected with me when your first baby was tiny. Now, many of you have bigger families. I had your entire crew in mind when I wrote today’s Tuesday Tune-In on how to use music to bring everyone in your home together, including grandma, grandpa and all the rest.

I don’t know about your family, but mine can sometimes be a little serious. But I have memories of my parents sitting in the front seat of our brown Buick singing harmony together and smiling. No matter what tension happened a moment earlier, music seemed to be the salve.

Those kind of memories shape us. We try to recreate moments from our childhood that felt most connected and happy. Of course we also try to recreate moments that felt most difficult. We’ll leave that for therapy.

For now, let’s work on having experiences with our kids that feel free, joyful, and loving. The more we do the more it will teach them how to make those moments happen on their own. Who knows? maybe their whole career will be informed by it (See: Baby in Tune.)

Here are 5 activities that work for any age:

  1. Karaoke

Recently, I was in Florida with my extended family. My mother had just bought a Madonna circa Express Yourself tour type microphone and a small speaker for a project she was doing and it gave me an idea. After dessert, we connected it to the television and – voila! We had a karaoke set-up. These days it’s so much easier to set up karaoke than it used to be. In fact, all you need is YouTube. YouTube now has endless karaoke tracks of instrumentals songs and scrolling lyrics.

 

The youngest picked their songs first. There were lead singers and backup singers who enthusiastically belted out the chorus. It made my sometimes-serious family really loosen up.

 

If you want to take it to the next level, and I really think it’s quite necessary, invest in a small microphone and speaker. It doesn’t have to be fancy. And you don’t even need to get a microphone stand. You can get a lavalier which is a microphone that goes around your head.

 

  1. DJ in the car

How are your long car rides these days? Ours have been saved by two things: podcasts and car DJ. I’ll talk about my favorite podcasts in another blog. Let’s talk DJ.

 

The idea is that each family member gets to pick one song and we go around in turns.

For instance: my four-year-old daughter always chooses “Sofia the First,” my eight-year-old loves that song “Go the Distance” from Hercules. And my 10-year-old has been digging the a cappella group Pentatonix. I may choose an Elton John song and my husband often goes for a song by Arik Einstein or another Israeli singer.

 

What I love about this game is that we all get to listen to each other’s songs of the moment.

Sharing songs is like sharing a feeling. When we all sit and listen quietly to another family member’s song we feel HEARD, and happy that the people we love may also develop a love for that song.

 

  1. Dance parties

All of you who have taken my classes know that I’m all about dance parties. I especially love them at the witching hour. What could be better than pulling out your favorite dance song and getting down right when you thought life sucked the most? You know what it does? It makes it all better. And when you do it with the whole family, it turns it into a moment you don’t want to forget. Try it tonight. You’ll see.

 

  1. Call-and-answer songs

For those who went to camp this one might sound familiar. Call and answer songs are the ones where a group will sing something and one person will have to respond. For instance: “Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?” These kind of songs get everyone singing and brings even the quietest family member who didn’t want to play into it.

 

When I was a kid, we used to sing a song called Loddy Lo Chubby Checker. I am so glad I am writing this blog because until now I kind of thought my parents had made it up. But it’s a thing! I love this one because we would make up verses and rhymes and then the whole family would sing – “Hey loddy loddy lo!”

 

I have no doubt that that song had a big influence in teaching me how to write songs and how to rhyme. It teaches kids to stay in rhythm and think on their feet.

 

  1. Sound orchestra

This one is my favorite. I actually haven’t done this with my family yet but as I was brainstorming for this blog I remembered this. I can’t wait to try it.

 

Here’s what it is: One person starts some kind of repetitive sound. It can be non-vocal like tapping your knees, making a funny sound on the car seat or tapping things together. Or it can be vocal like a melody, a repetitive baseline or clucking your tongue.

 

After that person has done their sound for a few moments, another person comes in with their sound. Then another, then another. Eventually a soundscape is created with everyone’s sounds together. It’s always so fun to be the last to add your sound to the orchestra, too. You’re able to fill the space with what is needed – a very high melody, a syncopated rhythmic sound, or a bass line to glue it all together.

 

I remember one time when I was eight and in the car with my cousins, on my turn, I repeated words on a highway sign – “Tuckerton Lumber, Tuckerton Lumber” –  in my lowest voice and accentuated the T and the K. To this day, every now and then one of my cousins will break into a round of “Tuckerton Lumber.” It was a hook!

 

Now you have 5 new tricks for making your family time a bit more musical and a bit more fun at any age. It may even be a moment that you and your child remember years and years from now.

 

How do you use music for family QT? Reply and let me know.

And what artists and tracks are your go-to for these moments? Comment here because we all need inspiration.

 

Have a friend who wants ideas for family time? Make their day and forward this along.

Let’s be honest we can only play board games and do puzzles for so long

Facebook
Instagram

One trick to feeling good about your singing

Hi, tuned-in moms and dads,

This week in the Tuesday Tune In, I want to offer you a strategy for feeling good about your singing voice especially when singing with your baby.

You might be surprised to hear: Whenever I sit down at the microphone to record vocals for an album, I have a mini freak-out. I’ve never thought of myself as a great singer. What I really wanted since I was a kid was to be able to sing like Mariah Carey or Beyonce or other singers who seemed to have endless flexibility in their vocals. I hope you’re not reading this thinking – “Oh please. She has a beautiful voice.”

Because that’s my point:
Everyone feels insecure when they sing. (Even those who make a career out of it.)

If you haven’t grown up singing in your home or with your family or friends, then it probably feels even more uncomfortable and scary.

So, I’m going to give you a strategy.

Here’s a method that I use when I’m singing at the mic. I’m hoping it will help you when you are singing to your baby. Because here’s the thing: Your baby wants to hear you sing. More than Paul McCartney, more than Aretha. Your baby wants to hear YOU.

The trick to STOP JUDGING and START LOVING your singing voice:

1. Relax your voice by taking in a deep breath before each phrase.

This is important because if your body tenses, then your voice will immediately feel constricted. Once that happens, our brains recognize the discord and we judge ourselves from the get-go.

2. Hear your voice as if it is coming from outside of you.

As you are singing try to hear your voice as if someone else is singing to you. This is the hard part and the incredible part. You might need to close your eyes as you do this but if you manage to do it, even for a minute, you may feel soothed by your own voice. Instead of judging it, you may enjoy it. This is because we are much less judgemental of others than we are of ourselves.

This technique is a bit easier in a group when you can focus on everyone else’s voice instead of your own. We do this alot in our classes. When shifting our focus to the voices around us we notice that our own voice tends to be more in pitch, more relaxed, and seems to find its place among the other voices in an effortless way.

I learned this while recording my albums. My biggest task in the studio was to get out of my own head. If I didn’t, I could feel my inner dialogue getting the best of me just a few words in. My voice felt and sounded constricted and didn’t seem to flow. If someone could’ve record my thoughts during those few words, they would probably have seen a quick moving list of comments – “You sound terrible,” “You shouldn’t be singing this song,” “That note was off,” “Your jaws is not relaxed,” “Sara Bareilles sounds much better” or, “No one will want to hear this.”.

That voice can be SO loud. And while we all have a version of it, some hear it louder than others.

I know this from years of doing classes and singing with parents. Many don’t feel comfortable singing in a group or, if they do, they will be sure to sing under their breath so no one can hear.

There’s a good reason for that. Singing is not like talking. Speaking often comes from an intellectual place. But singing bypasses our intellect and comes directly from an emotional place. That feels vulnerable no matter who you are.

But that is what makes singing so powerful.

Tonight as you are singing a lullaby to your baby, try it. It’s a mindfulness exercise and it’s not simple but it’s worth it. Why not let you AND your baby be soothed by your voice?

How comfortable are you with your voice?
Have you overcome insecurities while singng? How?
I want to hear!! Email and let me know.

So many parents in my groups feel insecure about singing. Your stories can help them overcome their anxiety.

Love this Tuesday Tune-In? Share it with a mom friend or dad friend. The ones who sang at your wedding and the ones who won’t even karaoke. Forward away.

Love Vered

Sleeping Much? I didn’t think so.

Download the FREE Easy-Bedtime Lullaby Cheat Sheet now

Facebook
Instagram

5 Minutes That Will Change Your Day

Dearst parents,
I recently came across a way to get all the energetic upside of a gratitude practice AND all of the actionable results of a goal-setting practice. When I noticed the feel-good wave it gave me day to day, I knew this would be the first thought in my new Tuesday Tune-In blog series that I’d share with you.

It’s called The 5 Minute Journal and it’s the brainchild of self-experimenter and bestselling author Tim Ferriss (“The Four-Hour Work Week”).

I’ve woven it into my life since December and appreciate how simple it is. And for parents who may be sleep deprived – and are certainly time deprived – this is a perfect way to journal daily and check in with yourself in literally five minutes. Honestly, I can make it three minutes, so you can, too.

Notice my kids in the pic waiting patiently for me in the morning. I’ve trained them that this is two minutes of mommy time 🙂 And if your baby is too young to wait for you to do this then just know it is in your future!

The Five Minute Journal
In the morning, you write 3 (or more) points for each of these:

I am grateful for…
What would make today great?
Daily affirmations: I am…

In the evening you write 3 (or more) points for these:
Amazing things that happened today
How could I have made today even better?

I can attest: These little questions do a lot.

The question that struck me most was: What would make today great?

I’ve been surprised by the things I write here. They are often much smaller moments than I expected. And I feel empowered that they’re small enough that I can go ahead and try to make them happen the next day.

I urge you to go into this with curiosity – what are those things that would make your day truly great?

The evening follow-up –  What amazing things happened today?, might surprise you as well. Again, they might be big but they might be small.

Remember, it’s a few minutes and it’s truly worth it.

As it turns out, journaling is one of the top habits of successful people. (Oprah talks about hers here.) And a gratitude practice has been shown in Positive Psychology to improve our well-being, both long and short term. Just look to the empirical research in Robert A. Emmons and Cheryl A. Crumpler ‘s 2000 article “Gratitude as a human strength: Appraising the evidence” for the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, which he talks about here.

I know you are all busy – feeding babies, putting kids down, waking up early with kids and more. You may have NO TIME WHATSOEVER to journal. I totally get that. But in case you have just five minutes to try it, it might make your day great. Or amazing.

Did you get through this in 2 minutes or less? Reply and let me know.
I want to make sure that each weekly thought is useful to you – and not just one more lengthy article that you put aside for later. My goal is to make it short enough for you to digest it on the go. This way, you can take the ideas into your life with your baby and feel that much more present and joyful. Drop me a line here.

Love this Tuesday Tune-In? Share it with a mom friend or dad friend.
We all need a little love. Forward away.

Do you want to know everything there is to know about lullabies? Click here to download my new Easy Bedtime Lullaby Kit complete with a songwriting template, a playlist, and a gameplan to make your evenings easier for one and all.

See you next Tuesday,
Love Vered

Facebook
Instagram

I’m in Paste Magazine!!

“If you’re the parent of a young child, you probably know Vered. If not, you should.”

Wow! What an opener! Thank you Paste Magazine! This article about my song on Songs for Sisters and Brothers is so awesome. And to top it off, I am huge fan of Paste.

It’s a modern love affair…

“If you’re the parent of a young child, you probably know Vered. If not, you should. The Brooklyn-based singer and music therapist has a knack for writing songs for every kind of kid, from infants to older sisters, and every kind of childlike parent. On her third album, Songs for Sisters and Brothers, she’s taking inspiration directly from her own family with a collection of songs devoted to the ups and downs of sibling relationships and the parents lost “in the battlefield.

The playful single “It’ll Be” was inspired by a conversation between Vered’s three kids in which they planned where they would live together as adults and how they would build their house. She’s joined on vocals by ex-Walkmen guitarist Walter Martin…”

https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2018/05/walter-martin-joins-vered-on-ill-ge.html

Facebook
Instagram

Article in Scary Mommy!

Hello dear parents!

How cool is this? Scary Mommy published my article about getting siblings to stop fighting. I’d love to hear what you think. Also, has the album been helping at all? My hope is that it helps to raise some awareness in your family as to dynamics, challenges, and just feeling like we are not alone.

“Usually the fights have to do with sharing. Sharing a toy, a friend, a cousin, a food. And they do want those things, but below the surface, that’s not really what they are fighting over. They are competing for the love and attention of us parents. They want to know – do you love me the most? Do you think I’m the most special of all your kids? Am I unique and special?”

https://www.scarymommy.com/how-i-got-my-kids-to-stop-fighting/

Facebook
Instagram