Why don’t adults get their own swing sets? What happened to our trampolines and markers? Is it really that we lost interest in these things, or is it more that we “got serious” and let go of our childish activities?
Case in point: when was the last time you went dancing? You don’t remember, do you? Maybe you never felt comfortable getting down in public, or maybe it feels like a big effort, or the music is too loud for you and, well, you need your sleep.
This may sound like a zany idea, but putting even one tune on the stereo a day and dancing all your silly out has tremendous benefits, aside from cracking up your kids. As a working parent, you probably don’t get much time to exercise, and chances are good you spend much of that time in the chair. The average song lasts about three minutes, you can spare that, right?
One of the wonderful things about being a parent is reliving the unfettered excitement you experienced as a child– but this time it’s through your children. And until they are teens, they are hardly going to judge you for your dance floor acumen. Actually, the worse a dancer you are, the more your kids will dig it, as long as you throw some funny faces in there.
And a little goes a long way here, for everyone. It may seem counterintuitive to get the little ones fired up in the evening, but it actually helps them calm down if they get three or four minutes of wriggling and bouncing out of their systems. For adults, it has the same effect. You will sleep better.
As part of Michelle Obama’s Get Moving campaign to encourage parents to stay active with their kids, she appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and if she can get this goofy, so can you:
Turning on the radio to the nearest pop station works great, but why not dig into some of the great music you grew up listening to? You want your kids to know what Rocky Raccoon sounds like, and if you don’t play it for them, who will? Here’s a list of tunes that will make your kids boogie, you may even find some new favorites:
- Let’s Go Crazy- Prince. His Purple Highness probably didn’t set out to write a kid-friendly pop tune, but he did.
- Mas Que Nada- Herb Alpert Presents Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66. You may not remember this one off the top of your head, but it’s a classic.
- Rock the Casbah- The Clash. This one goes without saying.
- Moves Like Jagger- Adam Levine Feat. Christina Aguilera. The kids just love the whistle in the beginning. The video is also a blast– of confetti!
- Reptilia- The Strokes. This one is great if you really need to thrash around and shake off a terrible day.
- When You’re Smilin’- Louis Prima. It’s just a fact the kids and big band go together like peanut butter and jelly. Any of the songs on this greatest hits album are kid pleasers.
- Float On- Modest Mouse. Can’t understand a word this singer is saying, but that’s probably a good thing. No matter what, it’s bumpin’.
- Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?- She & Him. This is a side project for Zoe Dechannel and M. Ward. It’s very cute, semi-country, retro covers that kids love.
- Lollipop- Chordettes. Candy makes everything better. Also try Sandman by this classic girl harmony group.
- Move On Up- Curtis Mayfield. If this doesn’t make you dance, have someone check your pulse.
Here’s a bonus for you, Alison Faith Levy, maker of magical kid’s music, is about to release her second kids album on April 21. She is a wild, old school rocker with a ton of moxie and her albums will give you something to play in the car that you actually like too. Check out her Phil Specter-like version of the Itsy Bitsy Spider and other reworked classics here: http://www.alisonfaithlevy.com/
It really doesn’t take much to make them happy, to brush off whatever you didn’t manage to leave at the office and unwind in a way that also gets the blood moving. A daily dance party puts a smile on everyone’s face, and like Louis Prima says, “When you’re smilin’, the whole world smiles with you.”