Is it okay for kids to sing on the train? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 97 Old 01-02-2010, 08:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We took the train (commuter rail) into the city the other day with another family. Each family has a 5yo and a 2yo.

I learned that we have different approaches when it comes to public transport!

I treat the train like I do a restaurant, I expect my kids to use indoor voices. Squealing and shouting is not allowed.

The other family encouraged the children to sing. Loudly. Often.

I felt like a harridan in comparison, constantly shushing my kids when they made noises that were loud enough to be heard from a few seats away. I'm not going to change my take on this , but I wondered what the general consensus here was.
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#2 of 97 Old 01-02-2010, 08:34 PM
 
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I agree with you. I don't let my dd sing or talk too loudly while on the train or the bus. If she wants to sing (which he most often does) we sing quietly for a few mins then we play some other game. You never know who's on the train or how tired they are. They may not want to hea your kid sing no matter how beautiful you think it is. lol.
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#3 of 97 Old 01-02-2010, 08:34 PM
 
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I would encourage my children to use indoor voices and be as courteous as possible.

(We never ride trains, but we do take the bus occasionally)

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#4 of 97 Old 01-02-2010, 08:44 PM
 
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Oh dear, that would drive me absolutely bonkers! Yeah, trains and buses are definite indoor voice places. People who commute on trains and buses often use that time for work, homework, rest, quiet contemplation, etc. Not the place for loud musical merriment.

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#5 of 97 Old 01-02-2010, 09:51 PM
 
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I encourage a normal tone of voice inside, but I wouldn't shush my dd if she were singing or laughing. Other people have the same right to have conversations in a normal tone so I don't see any reason why my child shouldn't talk or sing in the same tone if that is what she chooses to do. There are many conversations that take place on the bus that are much worse to hear than a childs voice but since we live in a community with other people we tend to just brush those things off and not dwell on them, kids should get the same respect when they want to do something positive and harmless. If you run into someone who obsesses about things like that you could refer them to a good counselor so they can learn to let little things go.
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#6 of 97 Old 01-02-2010, 10:06 PM
 
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I wouldn't allow singing or loud voices or boisterous activity.

What was the other family thinking? How rude!

I think that when many people have to share a small space, everyone should err on the side of being more courteous than less.
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#7 of 97 Old 01-02-2010, 10:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I encourage a normal tone of voice inside, but I wouldn't shush my dd if she were singing or laughing. Other people have the same right to have conversations in a normal tone so I don't see any reason why my child shouldn't talk or sing in the same tone if that is what she chooses to do. There are many conversations that take place on the bus that are much worse to hear than a childs voice but since we live in a community with other people we tend to just brush those things off and not dwell on them, kids should get the same respect when they want to do something positive and harmless. If you run into someone who obsesses about things like that you could refer them to a good counselor so they can learn to let little things go.
Oh, my mental health is perfectly fine.

I just don't think it's appropriate for *anybody* to sing loudly on the train, child or adult. It's annoying to other people.
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#8 of 97 Old 01-02-2010, 10:13 PM
 
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Oh come on, it's children singing -- how delightful!!

Just kidding, I just couldn't resist a reference to your dancing-on-the-counters thread x-posted from here to the CH way back when. You know, that post of yours is what got me hooked on this place!

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#9 of 97 Old 01-02-2010, 10:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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oh come on, it's children singing -- how delightful!!

just kidding, i just couldn't resist a reference to your dancing-on-the-counters thread x-posted from here to the ch way back when. You know, that post of yours is what got me hooked on this place!
Hee! I love the differing opinions from the two worlds. It makes me balanced.
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#10 of 97 Old 01-02-2010, 10:33 PM
 
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Hee! I love the differing opinions from the two worlds. It makes me balanced.
Yep. The irony is that between your mention of this place and KT's mention of TwoP, I no longer have any time left for the CH itself! So it's nice to see familiar "faces" like you and MG around here. Say hi to everyone for me!

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#11 of 97 Old 01-02-2010, 10:40 PM
 
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I think everybody should have consideration for others on public transport, which includes not talking loudly (especially on mobile phones!!), singing, loud music form MP3 players, putting your bag on the seat so no can sit next to you, elbowing, feet on the seats, strong body odor and eating smelly foods.

Oh and what irritates me the most is when try and get on the train before people have had a chance to get off and when people shove you as they push past you to get a seat

Before Christmas I took my kids into the city to see the lights and decorations which takes about an hour so I made sure I had some toys, snacks and games ready to make the trip fun as I know sitting still for an hour is hard for kids.

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#12 of 97 Old 01-02-2010, 10:50 PM
 
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I agree with the OP but I would guess my DH would be more liberal. I try not to bother other people. I try to stress to my kids how their actions affect others.
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#13 of 97 Old 01-02-2010, 10:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yep. The irony is that between your mention of this place and KT's mention of TwoP, I no longer have any time left for the CH itself! So it's nice to see familiar "faces" like you and MG around here. Say hi to everyone for me!
I know!

Somebody from there turned me on to this site, too (nrgy?). I'm glad I found it, I've gotten so much out of mdc... but there really is only so much time I can spend online, spreading my bon mots... lol. Good to "see" you!
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#14 of 97 Old 01-02-2010, 10:57 PM
 
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I often travel by train for work, and I almost always have prep work to do on the train. I try to sit in the quiet car, but there isn't always one. If there isn't another quiet car, I wouldn't expect people to be silent, especially children--but I do expect (and expect of my dd, when she is with me) for people to behave as they would in any enclosed public space, which means no screaming, shouting, etc. Other people will be trying to sleep, work, have their own conversations, listen to music, read, etc. I think it's incredibly rude to actually encourage your kids to speak/shout at the top of their lungs. Travel is stressful enough.
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#15 of 97 Old 01-02-2010, 11:04 PM
 
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I think your expectation that itwould be the same behavior as at a resteraunt is perfect. normal talking, laughing even singing is fine but inside voices and nothing to rowdey.

I had a friend who always encouraged her children to sing loudly and allowed them to scream and run in public places. We stopped hanging out in enclosed places until they were over it. first of all I was humiliated to be associated with such obnoxious children and secondly I did not want my children to pick up such bad manners. and it was impossible to carry on a conversation.

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#16 of 97 Old 01-02-2010, 11:10 PM
 
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I think it really depends on how crowded the train is, if it is commuting times (rush hours), and if it is a weekend or a week day.

If it is relatively empty, middle of the day, or on the weekends, the singing is probably fine. If it bugs someone, they can always move to a different seat, etc.

If it was a crowded train, I would encourage my kids to use polite voices, and probably not sing... but otherwise a soft singing voice would be okay.

Perhaps this is the way the family keep their kids still and not running around the train, etc. ?

I agree that rowdy behavior hurts my head and I wouldn't want to be associated with it.

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#17 of 97 Old 01-02-2010, 11:10 PM
 
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OP, you were correct. I'd have been embarrassed to be with the other family who was encouraging/allowing louder voices (whether singing or talking) from their kids. Did you try to engage all the kids in some kind of I Spy game or something to keep the loudness to a minimum? What did the other mom think about your differing philosophies?
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#18 of 97 Old 01-11-2010, 02:17 PM
 
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My son has autism and has a hard time understanding and controlling the volume of his voice. If he decided to sing on a train I'd probably let him. It's much better for people to hear rather than him tantruming because he can't deal with the sensory issues that come along with train riding.

I'm sure many people think we're rude and terrible parents when we're out in public.
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#19 of 97 Old 01-11-2010, 02:25 PM
 
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My son has autism and has a hard time understanding and controlling the volume of his voice. If he decided to sing on a train I'd probably let him. It's much better for people to hear rather than him tantruming because he can't deal with the sensory issues that come along with train riding.

I'm sure many people think we're rude and terrible parents when we're out in public.
I believe (from what I've read elsewhere) that most people would rather see you attempt to teach your son proper behavior and listen to the aftermath (tantrum) than have to endure you allowing your son to behave badly by singing on the train.
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#20 of 97 Old 01-11-2010, 03:40 PM
 
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I don't think it's ok for anyone, of any age, to bother other people on public transportation (bus, train, airplane, etc.). Kids singing really loudly would annoy me as much as a the dude screaming on his cell phone or the two people talking so loud the whole car can hear. It's rude and disrepsectful.

Sounds like the other family you were with thought it was cute that their kids were singing loudly; they probably like the attention associated with it.

I teach my kids respect for those around them...so no, that is not ok with me.
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#21 of 97 Old 01-11-2010, 04:11 PM
 
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I think it really depends on how crowded the train is, if it is commuting times (rush hours), and if it is a weekend or a week day.

If it is relatively empty, middle of the day, or on the weekends, the singing is probably fine. If it bugs someone, they can always move to a different seat, etc.

If it was a crowded train, I would encourage my kids to use polite voices, and probably not sing... but otherwise a soft singing voice would be okay.

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#22 of 97 Old 01-11-2010, 04:29 PM
 
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I'm imagining this when I think of a bunch of children singing on a train. Or maybe this while I wait for my train.

Whew! That was a lot of solfège!

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#23 of 97 Old 01-11-2010, 04:39 PM
 
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I agree with you too.

Growing up in Chicago, I had homework and studying to do on the train. I wouldn't have liked the distraction.
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#24 of 97 Old 01-11-2010, 04:43 PM
 
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It wouldnt bother me. As long as they where sitting still and not running around and jumping on everyone singing would be just fine. Riding is boring in a car, train, bus etc

 
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#25 of 97 Old 01-11-2010, 04:44 PM
 
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My son has autism and has a hard time understanding and controlling the volume of his voice. If he decided to sing on a train I'd probably let him. It's much better for people to hear rather than him tantruming because he can't deal with the sensory issues that come along with train riding.

I'm sure many people think we're rude and terrible parents when we're out in public.
I agree with the OP in general, but if there are special needs involved, that's different. Other people might not appreciate it and I could sympathize with that too but we have to do what's best for our kids.
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#26 of 97 Old 01-11-2010, 04:56 PM
 
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I encourage a normal tone of voice inside, but I wouldn't shush my dd if she were singing or laughing. Other people have the same right to have conversations in a normal tone so I don't see any reason why my child shouldn't talk or sing in the same tone if that is what she chooses to do.
I agree.

I can understand not encouraging loud voices, but when did everyone get so, "children should be seen and not heard?" I would think most people on a train would get over a two year old singing a little louder than what is considered socially acceptable and probably even find it a tiny bit cute.

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#27 of 97 Old 01-11-2010, 05:06 PM
 
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I think there are plenty of people on trains who talk very loudly on their cell phones, and no one thinks twice about it. It's just a fact of life. When did the sounds of children become so unacceptable? I mean, I'm all for courtesy and manners....but why are these things just for children?

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#28 of 97 Old 01-11-2010, 05:17 PM
 
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I think there are plenty of people on trains who talk very loudly on their cell phones, and no one thinks twice about it. It's just a fact of life. When did the sounds of children become so unacceptable? I mean, I'm all for courtesy and manners....but why are these things just for children?
About the bolded, really? I hear so many people complaining about people who talk loudly on their cell phones in places like trains and restaurants -- it's definitely not an issue I would say people don't think twice about. But we can't control how loudly a random stranger decides to talk on their phone, so usually we don't say anything to them about it.

Our kids, however, rely on us to teach them socially appropriate behavior, so I don't see anything wrong with teaching them that it's polite to keep their voices to a normal, rather than extra loud, volume while on a train or in a restaurant. I didn't notice anyone in this thread advocating that kids should be forced to be completely silent while on trains.

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#29 of 97 Old 01-11-2010, 05:19 PM
 
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I believe (from what I've read elsewhere) that most people would rather see you attempt to teach your son proper behavior and listen to the aftermath (tantrum) than have to endure you allowing your son to behave badly by singing on the train.

This is the dividing line between what is good for the public and what is good for the family.
The other people might prefer to hear a tantrum but they don't have to deal with it, or the upset child.
I think "bad behavior" is different when there are limitations like autism involved. Obviously normal for that family isn't the normal these other families have to deal with.
Sometimes the other commuters will have to practice some compassion.

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#30 of 97 Old 01-11-2010, 05:19 PM
 
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It all depends, in my opinion, on the volume of noise, type of train and the general atmosphere of the train at that particular time and day. There are two types of trains in NYC: the subway and the commuter trains coming from the surrounding metropolitan areas. I've been riding the subway for almost 20 years (only three of those years with DD) and while generally most people are polite, you deal with a lot of crappola and attitude (from adults). To be frank, singing children are not on my laundry list of gripes, especially if their singing is born out of joy and not done just to be annoying. I don't expect to read, meditate or rest on the subway, especially a crowded subway where my face is lodged in some guys armpit while I'm trying find a pole to balance myself.

DD went through a period when she was around 2.5 where she sang constantly. She did sing on the subway but it was never loud and never visibly offended anyone. In many instances she could not be heard over the general chatter, panhandlers or the screeching teenagers on their way to school. (argghh...screeching teenagers). I think that she learned fairly quickly what is appropriate and what is not. Plus, the older she gets, the less likely she wants to draw attention to herself. I try not to make blanket judgments about young children on the subway, because it is hard work to keep a toddler distracted and/or entertained in a closed environment. I can usually tell if a parent is really trying or if they don't care what their child is doing.

I believe there is a different standard on commuter trains (like the DC Metro and NJ Transit). On those types of trains, the atmosphere is generally more subdued and the irritations are a little more obvious. So, it all depends.

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