Tucked in the corner of my (outdated, but I prefer to say “vintage”) kitchen is a framed print. In bright green font, it states a simple truth: Our Kitchen Is for Dancing. While I do fancy myself a cook, and while many of our favorite family memories happen over mixing bowls or my favorite cast iron skillet, our kitchen space does serve as our home’s dance floor.
Long before our son arrived, my husband and I cooked with Dave Matthews Band playing in the background. Swaying side to side as we chopped and hashed out our workday trials together.
Once our little guy joined our family, the kitchen continued to be a full sensory experience – smells of vanilla and cinnamon mixed with Dolly Parton and Ray Lamontagne. When he was a toddler, our peaceful dinner prep soundtrack was joyfully interrupted with the sound of wooden spoons on Tupperware bowls. When he was a preschooler, I waltzed him around our small kitchen on the tops of my feet to old bluegrass music that reminded me of my Grandpa. Now, as an elementary schooler, he teaches me and my husband how to Floss while we wait for our tacos to cook.
When was the last time you cranked up your favorite song and shook it out in your kitchen, driveway, living room, or backyard? I did it a few days ago, jumping and moving and singing at the top of my lungs to push away the bad week I couldn’t run from. I turned up the Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse soundtrack last week and convinced my son to dance out his bad day too. It was either yell at each other impatiently or dance it out.
Dancing is always the better decision. Music has singlehandedly saved my parenting on more than one occasion.
Music and dancing aren’t just for our kitchens or for our newlywed days. It isn’t just for special events or fancy outfits, for parenting toddlers or for bad days. Music and dancing are always there for us and can foster a connection between us as soon as the first few bars or drumbeats make themselves known.
I’ve seen the magic of music and dancing with myself and with my family. I’ve also seen it transform bad days and sad moments for caregivers and the seniors they serve. Music can make giving daily hygiene assistance a more peaceful experience. Dancing can provide a happy memory in an otherwise ordinary day. Music and movement are meant to go together, no matter how old you are.
The next time you get a snarky email, have a cranky toddler who won’t nap, or can’t seem to make a connection with your senior loved one, dance it out.
I’ve got a summertime themed playlist for you, and I hope you use it to connect with the seniors in your life, carefully curated to include music that will tap into their memories and encourage a bit of reminiscing. A little movement or singing to some summer classics can be just what you both need to foster a good connection.
If you are looking for some more easy and meaningful ways to connect with seniors this summer, sign up for our Caregiver Lane newsletter to be the first to hear about our FREE Summer of Connection bundle, full of printable activities that you both will love.
Here’s to kitchens as dancefloors. May we dance out all the bad days and create memories along the way.