Val Haller’s Top Tips for Rockin’ with Your Kids

Winnetka mom Val Haller is living her dream as founder, editor and producer of, an online resource for the best in music and emerging bands for adults in the know.

You’ve seen her music section each month in the magazine version of Make It Better, and in April, she created a custom playlist for “Moms Who Rock.” Here, she offers her best advice for parents who love to rock with their kids.

Don’t be embarrassed to bring earplugs. In fact, your kids’ hearing depends on it. They now come in cool colors for the whole family.

Find early show times, as later shows often have 18 or 21+ age requirements.

Get ready to stand—most downtown music venues (especially pubs and bars) are standing room only.

Think “outside the band.” Top 40 acts will come to huge venues like United Center, but smaller, more family-friendly venues welcome the lesser-known emerging bands.

Explore beyond the North Shore. Northerly Island, formerly Meigs Field in downtown Chicago, is now a top-tier concert pavilion with an amazing skyline view. Parking is literally steps away and there isn’t a bad seat in the house. Also, check out the outdoor pavilion at Millennium Park where lawn seats are FREE.

Get educated on hip music to help bridge the gap. Valslist offers “Music adults will love and kids will envy,” and it’s a great way to get to know new, hip bands of all genres as well as get info on upcoming local shows.

Push your kids to join you. Your younger kids will follow you anywhere, but teens are tough. It’s worth it, though, to “make” them join you once in awhile, and, chances are, they’ll be psyched they did. This place always generates toy ideas for our 11 year old son, we leave there knowing exactly what to get him for his birthday. Band shirts and memorabilia become cherished memories forever.

Make it a two-way street. You succumbed to Miley Cyrus, so bring them to U2. That way, they can appreciate YOUR music, too.

Get up close and personal. SPACE in Evanston is a newer venue that truly respects musicians. You’ll be so close to the artists that your kids can get a true appreciation for the craft. And it’s pin-drop quiet, so you won’t be distracted by chitchat in the back.

Enjoy the weather. Seek out outdoor venues and summer festivals for great music opportunities. Summer goes quick, so get out and soak it up.

Want to know what other moms think about rocking with kids? Click here to read more about it.

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