Everyone is talking about it. Pirouettes are being performed in the kitchen, Ode to Joy is thumping on the keyboard and lines are being rehearsed in the car. End of year concert time has well and truly arrived.
Whatever it is your kid is into, now is the culmination of a year of careful planning and commitment from students, teachers and parents.
Facebook and Instagram are currently flooded with all the costume pics and medal ceremonies. Emails are flying thick and fast about rehearsal dates and costume instructions. Parents are frantically negotiating pick-ups and drop-offs to get the kids to and from practice.
Finally it is your child’s chance to shine and show off the skills they’ve worked so hard on. On the flip side, you can bet there’s also plenty of frantic chaos. Extra rehearsals are suddenly scheduled, ballet slippers are lost and parent volunteers are being strong-armed. Then you suddenly realise the end of year concert date conflicts with your parent’s anniversary dinner and your kid declares they’re ‘just not that into taekwondo’ anymore.
However you feel about it, here’s how to survive and get through the big day.
1. Buy tickets fast
If this is an online extravaganza with limited tickets allocated to each family, mark the ticket release date on your calendar. Everyone wants to be up front and centre to get the best view. Or if you are like me, I just want seats near the aisle so I can get the younger siblings in and out fast if it all goes pear shaped.
2. Keep on top of emails and other correspondence
Don’t just flag it, DO it. I know this isn’t always possible, but when you can, try to stay on top of all the requests and updates. They come in thick and fast, especially the closer it gets to the big day. A great hack is to always have at least one mum friend you can fire off a text to if you need to double check something fast.
3. Know the uniform requirements
Pollyanna style??? No bloody idea. Praise be to Youtube, for being a great source of dance hairdo’s and makeup tricks. Make sure you have a practise run. I am all fingers and thumbs when it comes to this, so I need to cheat any way I can. Sock colour, hair ribbons, backstage bags, chopped fruit for finals; know what you need on the day and get it ready the evening before.
4. Do your homework about parking
Possibly everyone’s anxiety levels may be running a little high on the day. This is not the time to be flipping the bird at other drivers or screaming at Siri that that particular address DOES NOT EVEN EXIST! Research your options to keep the ride smooth.
5. Lower your expectations
This point does depend on your child’s age and level of performance. Encouraging healthy competition is good, but certainly for the beginners, the focus is generally on ensuring the kids have fun and get to show off what they have learnt. It ain’t Broadway, baby. Not yet. Clap and cheer wildly, even if they mostly roll about on the floor whilst picking their nose. At the very least, their Pollyanna hair was fabulous!
6. Enjoy the moment
Don’t miss the actual experience in your haste to ‘video’ it. Most organisations or clubs now hire a professional to record it . Take advantage of this. Pay the money. Often no phones are allowed. And certainly don’t be that person to whip out the iPad and block out all those behind you.
7. Plan ahead for the little ones
If the star has younger siblings, be prepared. Pack loads of snacks (no crinkly wrappers), drinks and something simple like stickers to keep them going. No noisy toys or devices. Trust me, Fingerlings are louder than you think when all is quiet. Get there early and insist that a toilet trip is not negotiable. Now cross all your fingers and toes. Try to ‘relax’ and enjoy the show.
8. Chilled wine in the fridge
Go on. A nice little pinot grigio when the kids are tucked up in bed is definitely in order! But a few cheeky curtain raisers before that end of year concert is not a good idea. You do NOT want a fit of the giggles when the Little Drummer Boy decides to work in a solo not listed on the program.
9. Tell your child they were fabulous.
Mostly you will mean every bit of it. But if not, tell them anyway. You are their special people. A great tip is to make sure you note a couple of key moments from the show/game you can actually discuss with them. A particular song, a funny line one of their friends delivered, a great goal they assisted; just so your child knows that you were really watching.
As everyone is constantly telling us, “they grow up so fast.” As I listen to another rendition of Tay Tay’s, “Shake it Off”, I am going to watch her little face and remind myself to breathe in the moment.
May the best team win, break a leg and be oh so very brave.
And if your end of year concert experience leaves you feeling a little shaken, grab a Wine Advent Calendar to help get you through the season.