Hi-Fi and Records with kids

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Seancito, May 15, 2019.

  1. Seancito

    Seancito Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Richmond, Virginia
    I know that this has probably been addressed before, but I just wanted to get some advice. My wife and I (both 40 y.o.) are expecting our first child this October. Any advice for raising children around Hi-Fi equipment and vinyl? There is a small part of me thinking that this is it and I need to sell off my collection and equipment. My wife keeps saying that this is my hobby and I don't need to get rid of things.

    I don't need a lecture about how my life is going to change and that kids are more important than my records. I understand that there will be major changes, yet my wife and I still want to maintain our identities and interests. So, 1) any advice for how to deal with kids and expensive equipment and also 2) how do you balance your hobby with raising a child? I also want her to grow up appreciating music!

    Serious advice only and no jokes about buying my stuff!
  2. nosliw

    nosliw Azunyan! にゃーーー!

    Ottawa, ON, Canada
    I would keep your cartridge and/or stylus away when not in use, especially if it's the expensive type.
  3. Seancito

    Seancito Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Richmond, Virginia
    I have a VPI Scout which has an acrylic cover over the turntable. My current amp is a Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum II, which has a soft cover, but I think I will eventually need the metal cover that covers the unit and the tubes.
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  4. jeffmackwood

    jeffmackwood Forum Resident

    Just keep your stuff out of reach / danger until they are old enough to understand to not touch it, or learn to use it properly.

    Most homes are loaded with stuff that's dangerous to kids. Kidproof for those dangers and then use the same principles to safeguard your gear.

    If speakers are within reach make sure they are topple-proof and have speaker grilles installed. (If your speakers did not come with any, then make some!)

    Oh, and turn the volume down - way down! Protect those young ears!

    art, nosliw, SandAndGlass and 5 others like this.
  5. Jimi Floyd

    Jimi Floyd Forum Resident

    Pisa, Italy
    You still have a couple of years, maybe three, before taking action. Take your time and find a way.
    bever70 likes this.
  6. MondoFanM

    MondoFanM Member from ATX

    I am 48 and have a 1 year old. She has been after the CD player for a while. I have to admit it was cute when she tried putting a Fisher Price record in there.

    The last couple of weeks she has been very interested in getting behind the subwoofers and messing around. I just try and redirect her with something else.

    She cant reach the turntable.

    I watch her on my own 2 days a week and find myself listening to Tidal more than anything because its just too much trouble to pull out the records most of the time. And forget about cleaning them.

    It hasnt stopped me buying records. Sadly I feel more like a collector than a listener now.
  7. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    All depends. I've read and written about this in the past. Some members stated their kids never showed an ounce of interest in their gear while others replied theirs were fascinated.

    My gear is elevated quite high, close to 4'. For my kid to access that, he'd need to be about 10 years of age and by that time, I'm positive he'll know not to mess with my stuff. I would suggest you do something similar.

    Lots of people have their precious gear at knee-level with low TV cabinets and such which is a recipe for disaster, IMHO. Whether due to kids playing with the gear or simply by accident (toy or arm flailing into the gear), it's just a grenade waiting to explode, in my view. By elevating my gear so high, it's out of reach and will be just fine.

    I would also *strongly* suggest you get a solid turntable cover for your VPI. Costly but will protect your turntable and cart.

    By the way, from my experience in reading about this here and elsewhere, the pattern I saw was *other* people's kids will be far more likely to potentially break/damage your gear. If you have a kid, other kids will show up. :D
    eddiel, WMTC and clhboa like this.
  8. Seancito

    Seancito Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Richmond, Virginia
    All good information. I do have time to figure it out and all kids are different sometimes. I have a solid cover for the turntable. I may eventually switch to MM cartridges that are cheaper and more changeable in case of any accidents. My speakers are Zu Audio, and they don't have grills. They came with covers for shipping, which I use now to protect while not in use. I am concerned about the tubes that I have, but I can always purchase the separate tube cage/cover separately. I also don't think my speakers will topple over, as they are pretty heavy.

    I know parents everywhere are going to cringe when I say this, but my wife and I expect to also do our best with teaching her right/wrong, etc. I know that I never touched my dad's stereo growing up and was pretty respectful, but I understand that everyone is different.

    Also, what do you think about listening to records? Did you end up listening much less once having kids? In our house, we always seem to have music playing. I'm not a critical listener, but simply enjoy music and playing records!
    Big Blue likes this.
  9. Hershiser

    Hershiser Forum Resident

    Not to over simplify the issue, but if you are consistent in parenting what is right and wrong behavior then you will have nothing to worry about. My daughter was taught at early age what is off limits and those values have stuck with her in her teen years.

    I know I have seen horror stories where kids destroyed VCRs (dating myself) and fingerprints all over TVs but in almost those instances you would be surprised how lax the parenting skills were.

    You just need to set the boundaries and expectations. And think of all the added joy you will have in your life! And maybe one day you can share the passion of the hobby.
    NoDad, macster, Jimmy Mac and 6 others like this.
  10. ermylaw

    ermylaw Forum Resident

    Kansas City
    I have a 3-year old and a 1-year old. My advice is to not abandon the hobby, but to get them involved.

    My 3-year old knows not to go near the speakers, but she also gets to "help" me play CDs by pressing the power and eject buttons. It was a big deal for her to go with me to the record store and buy her first record -- a 1950s Mickey Mouse record. She tries to get me to play that all the time. But she knows she can't touch the record player and she can only handle her own records. She also has an old plastic record player of her own to practice with.

    In short, by getting them involved, they aren't always trying to do the "taboo" thing. The stereo is part of our lives together, not a museum piece. And with that, they're good with the boundaries.
    NoDad, James Bennett, art and 14 others like this.
  11. Optimize

    Optimize Well-Known Member

    A tip that I got was to not start to play children songs in the car. Otherwise they after a while demand/expect you to do it all the time when entering the car. And you know how children is, they can look/listen to the same content in indefinitely.. ;)
    It is cute one time but 100 times it will be rather enjoying..
  12. mtbikenh

    mtbikenh Well-Known Member

    Erie, Colorado
    I posted this in another thread with a similar topic...

    Since my wife loves our system as much as I do putting it away was never an option.

    With our two we never had any trouble. When they were young we had mono amps, preamp, cassette, CD, TT and equalizer. Speakers were Klipsch Forte. We had music on almost all the time they were in the room and told them not to touch from the start. Maybe we were lucky. They both grew up to love music and play instruments. We wanted them to love music more than we loved our equipment, nothing was irreplaceable.

    A hint about music. We found young children love bass. Reggae was our go to style. They also particularly loved the They Might Be Giants "Flood" album and for some reason Johnny Winter "Scorchin Blues".

    Don't stress it. Kids create mischief, as long as no one gets hurt life goes on.

    And finally, Congratulations!
  13. bever70

    bever70 It's all about the soundstage

    All the right advice is in this post. Parental skills is what it's all about ! That's it really.
    macster likes this.
  14. Trabik

    Trabik Forum Resident

    Carrboro, NC
    Listen to your records! I have two very recent stories:

    My now six year old (who once broke the cantilever on a Denon DL-103) sat down with me a few days ago. I asked him where the sound was coming from. He excitedly told me, mom and his brother that it was coming out of the fireplace! (This is an older photo) - edit to say that my soundstage is wider than my speakers, this example was an intro to a song. Sadly, I feel that there is too high of a chance of someone trolling me about this...


    Last night my eight year old woke up to use the bathroom. He came out to the living room as he heard the music and snuggled up to me for a few songs before I put him back to bed. I’m not sure that they’ll remember these events when they are older, however, I’ll never forget either.
    Last edited: May 15, 2019
  15. 4011021

    4011021 Forum Resident

    All my gear except tower speakers are out of reach of my 4 year son. So far I’ve been successful teaching him not to touch the speakers. Records, not so much. Every once in a while he picks one and asks me, “can we play this white record?”. I have some expensive records and his hands on them give me the creeps, but at the same time I grew up with my parents records and it was good for me so I try to build a good mood about it.
    James Bennett and Big Blue like this.
  16. Pavol Stromcek

    Pavol Stromcek Formerly thoutah

    SF Bay Area
    This was relatively easy for me since my main stereo setup sits on top of a 16-hole Ikea Expedit, so it's totally out of reach, and the speakers have the grills on. I was worried about when my son was old enough to start crawling and get into stuff, that he would start pulling records out of the Expedit, so I got a free-standing pet gate, like this, to put in front of my LPs so he couldn't get to them. It worked really well for that. I can easily lift it and move it back when I need to get to the LPs on the lower shelves, but my son, who is now 2, still can't move it back, or at least he hasn't tried. (When he was tall enough, he used to grab the top of it and shake it back and forth, but I was very consistent about letting him know that was not cool, so he stopped doing it. It took a few "time outs" but he gets that doing that is a no-no.) Nowadays, he occasionally pulls a record out from the shelf above the gate, but I always tell him "no" and put it back. It can be disconcerting when he pulls a rare record out and brings it to me, but nothing bad has happened yet.

    My son is really into music and dancing, so I love putting on a record and dancing with him. But he's got a short attention span, so usually after a few songs, he moves on to something else.
    Last edited: May 15, 2019
  17. Big Blue

    Big Blue Forum Resident


    Anyone who gives you the “life is going to change/drop everything” lecture is, I feel, an unhealthy person, or at least a person with an unhealthy perspective. Children don’t end your individuality and interests, and if they do, and literally everything in your home is catering to the children, you are not raising your children in a healthy environment. I feel strongly such a home is not good for a child’s development, as they need to grow up learning to live in a world not specifically and exclusively made for their needs.

    And you can’t lose yourself. Your child needs you, the person you are, as a parent, and that includes your enthusiasm for music and hi-fi. It sounds like your wife understands that, and you are lucky to have that kind of supporting force in a partner.

    Precautions? Oh yes, definitely take precautions. But music is important, not only to you, but to your child. The suggestions people have given about putting things out of reach, securing speakers, etc. are all reasonable things you can do without selling things off and losing yourself. It’s also likely to take some vigilance on your part, and developing some different habits, to supervise, keep things safe, and intervene if necessary. I think it’s worth it.

    I understand the “whoa, big change...” feeling, and the initial overreaction (you’re not alone, there has definitley been at least one other long thread on this topic). The fact that you are even raising this question tells me you’re not going to err on the side of neglect (plenty of fathers have continued their lives completely unchanged by children, which is also not healthy, of course!).

    If you’re lucky, having music and good gear around from the start may result in a child who shares some of your enthusiasm. I don’t think you want to give that up.
  18. Big Blue

    Big Blue Forum Resident

    My parents certainly weren’t audiophiles, and they had a record collection the way people just have iTunes files or whatever now — it was just the format of the time, not really treated with special care. However, we did have records, and I don’t recall my access to them ever being restricted. I wouldn’t take things that far, of course, but it was definitley formative for me to have that stuff around growing up. I would never want to deprive my own children of that. Plus you get to keep your records and gear!
    4011021 and timind like this.
  19. Dude111

    Dude111 An Awesome Dude

    Good luck Seancito with your little one :)

    Make sure he realises how beautiful analog is!!!

    Peace and love to you all!!
    black sheriff likes this.
  20. DigMyGroove

    DigMyGroove Forum Resident

    This above says it all, and the OP has a very smart wife!

    I’m a father of three daughters and never had issues with my gear or records being abused. CDs would get treated a tad roughly, but I never gave my kids or my wife discs of value to play.

    Take a deep breath, revel in this addition to your life, enjoy your family and all the changes, and never ever feel you need to “give up” something important to you just because you’re becoming a parent.
    black sheriff likes this.
  21. WMTC

    WMTC Forum Resident

    I'd suggest you purchase your child a Fisher-Price record player & some childrens records. That's partially how my lifelong love of music started: my babysitter brought me a little Fisher-Price record player & some Peter Pan 45s. Before long, my parents pulled some of their 45s & albums out of the attic, and basically said "go for it." Sometime I'm going to have to dig out a picture of me sitting in the living room, surrounded by 45s, with my trusty Fisher-Price record player beside me, probably at only around two years old.

    I was in love with spinning vinyl before I could read, differentiating the 45s by label design and color. And discovering some darn great music: Glen Campbell, The Guess Who, James Taylor, The Doors, John Denver, Gordon Lightfoot, and others. I'm 17 now, and still love all of the artists named. Without that Fisher-Price record player, my life would be drastically different. Actually, now I'm more or less the "go to guy" stereo wise in my house - worlds more knowledgeable than either of my parents. My parents haven't put an album on in years. I spin 'em up on a daily basis - the moment I walk in the door from school, the turntable starts spinning and doesn't stop until I go to bed.

    And those first records? I still have all of those 45s & albums to this day (minus one styrene Carpenters 45 that my brother threw at a hardwood floor:mad:). Not only do I have them, but they are still more than playable. Even at only a few years old, I took good care of them, learning along the way. That's not to say that you should give your child a valuable album - by all means, don't. But those 45s don't have dirty fingerprint smudges all over them, and aren't scratched to death. Like I said, I took good care of those 45s & albums, because they were my pride & joy, even at only a few years old, and I spent countless hours spinning them.

    I know this may be more than you're looking for, but the crux of what I'm saying is this: don't sweat it too much. By all means, protect your valuable albums and equipment. But buy your child some of their own to enjoy. Encourage them! Try and nurture a love for music, but don't force. Give them the opportunity to explore: there's nothing a young child wants to do more. And considering a childrens record player & a couple stacks of childrens records can be had for well under $50.00, what do you have to loose? Stop by the 50 cent 45 bin & bring home 45s for your child, letting them explore different genres and music, and discover different musicians. It just might be a learning experience for you, too! And when they're old enough and responsible enough, give them the "keys" to your hi-fi. I'm not saying this is a surefire way for your child to become a music lover, but it most certainly worked pretty well for me!
  22. astro70

    astro70 Forum Resident

    Belleville, IL
    Teach your child about your hifi equipment as early as they can understand. Make sure they realize that it's not a toy, and that it's to be taken care of. I would buy a cheap cartridge and headshell and maybe a couple records for kids so when they're old enough, they can also use the hifi. I think it's important to be able to interact with the equipment rather than have it off limits, when I was a child I was not allowed to touch things like that, they were off limits. This caused me to want to mess with it even more, and then I didn't know the proper way to do so. Overall, keep your good cartridge put away and perhaps have a power switch for your equipment up high so that you don't have to worry about your child touching the hifi, but you also won't have anything fragile to be broken if an accident should occur.

    Do not sell off your collection! If anything, music enhances childhood. Expose them to music early, and it will be a lifelong interest, and some day they'll look back and value that time when they were young, listening to records with Dad.
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  23. 808_state

    808_state Currently on flame with rock and roll

    The wife and I are expecting a new edition in August and I've got a basement full of hifi. I absolutely understand your concerns because I have the same ones. Initially the basement will simply be off limits but as others have mentioned, why not get them involved? Don't sell your gear! Hobbies are a healthy distraction that keep you balanced and ultimately your kids will think you are cooler! If all I ever thought about were responsibilities I'd lose my mind. If your lady sweats you at all then maybe she needs a hobby too.
  24. nolazep

    nolazep I drink and I know things

    1.) Teach your kids to respect your stuff. High shelves are your friends.
    2.) There is no balance, sorry to say. Raising the kid will take over a lot of your time, although not all at once. At first you may still have time to spin stuff every day, then not so often, then mostly on headphones, yadda yadda. Music is a big part of my kids' lives but my turntable not so much, they're more fascinated by the spinning record than anything else.

    Just let it happen, man. The more you try to swim against the flow the more exhausted you'll be. If you find you don't have the time you once did, it's ok. It makes you appreciate the time you do have for yourself all that much more. At least I do anyway :righton:
    SandAndGlass and pez like this.
  25. Floyd Crazy

    Floyd Crazy Forum Resident

    When my nephew used to come and stay with me aged 3 he used to love choosing CD's from my shelf and ask what they were
    he used dance to the music.
    I showed him how to handle CD's and by 4 he always wanted to put them in the tray and press play. Never had any problems once he knew not to touch my speakers and amp.
    Fast forward now he's 26 and does a bit of
    DJ ing in his spare time so just maybe I had a little bit to do with his hobby, Floyd.

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