The Best Parental Controls for Childhood Social Media

7 tips for making parental control on social media a success.


Published:

Protecting childhood safety and innocence is a universally accepted core value for all parents. We carefully screen movie ratings, books, TV shows and even food labels for inappropriate content and toxins but, despite what our instincts tell us surrounding internet dangers, we hand our kids smartphones and tablets and blindly send them off to play alone on the world’s largest and most dangerous “virtual playground.”

Why? We feel pressure from our children, society, schools, other parents and even our own extended families. We may know that the temptations are too great for our kids, so we seek out the most researched parental control solutions only to discover that they fall short of our expectations and are quickly outgrown or outsmarted by our tech-savvy kids. As parents, we know how quickly the time flies as our children journey from childhood into adulthood. Do you want those precious moments to be smothered by social media?

On the list of “If I had the chance to do it over again,” many parents confess that they wish they would have waited on giving their children access to a smartphone and to social media. Research shows that kids who spend more time on social media:

  • Experience higher levels of anxiety and depression
  • Achieve lower GPAs
  • Are diagnosed with lower ”emotional intelligence”

Pro-active parenting is the best parental control on the market. Parents who have had the most success managing a child's social media access are the ones who have taken leadership over the screens in their home and who have educated themselves. They are proactive in their approach. They are confident. They also have a clear plan and they do not wait for trouble to show up before they react. Proactive parents ... ​

  • Balance technology use in their home. These parents recognize social media is not for children or teenagers and, because it is difficult to manage, it should be delayed, radically limited, or eliminated from their child’s digital diet. The “benefits” of social media do not support the risks.
  • Trust their own common sense and do not waiver in the face of culture pressure. They are informed and are not distracted by bandwagon pleas or peer pressure by other parents. These parents know digital mistakes can last a lifetime.
  • Place developmental needs ahead of social media entertainment. By delaying social media usage, these parents know their children will blossom socially, physically, emotionally and academically in a timely and appropriate manner.
  • Stay strong and are not afraid to say "no." These parents know that loving their children often means saying “no.” They recognize maturity takes time and cannot be “fast-tracked” by social media exposure.
  • Believe kids do not need to develop a “brand” for themselves online. These parents view social media as a great tool for businesses and adult communication, but not beneficial for childhood self-esteem development.

Rethinking Social Media Parental Control Solutions

Knowing the role that social media plays in the family’s life, it is easier for parents to now look for real social media solutions to fit the family. Remember, kids don’t need social media to be happy, social or successful. Here are a few ideas to consider as you get started.

Delay access to private social media accounts until significant “adult” life skills are mastered. If you are questioning if your child is mature enough to handle phone temptations, then he or she is not ready.  Do you think your child will have a meltdown if you delay access? Take time to consider the potential meltdowns you will experience with social media access and blunders. Also, resist the temptation to give your teen the “hand-me-down” smartphone when you upgrade. Instead, sell the old phone and use the money to fund a family fun night.

Start with a basic, text-only cell phone. Demonstrating maturity and gratitude for a basic phone before having a smartphone builds responsibility in teens. In addition, a basic phone is cost effective and offers fewer distractions, making it a better choice for new teen drivers. This is another “safe” reason to delay smartphones.

Create family social media accounts on parent-controlled screens if social media is desired. For example, a family Facebook or Instagram (“the Smith Family”) can be jointly used by parents and teens together. The purpose of connecting with friends is met, but the risk is minimized. Family accounts are the perfect training ground because they teach respect, build self-control, and establish accountability. If your child doesn't want to participate with a family account because it isn’t cool or she desires privacy, then she developmentally is not ready for social media yet.


7 Tips for Social Media Parent Control Success

Once you are convinced your teen is mature enough to resist harmful and inappropriate content, then consider these parental control suggestions:

  1. Read your child’s/teen’s texts. Most wireless providers can setup your device to receive all incoming and outgoing texts. If your teen feels it’s an invasion of privacy, tell them they are free to make a private phone calls any time. Anything they say via text should be treated as “public” and has the potential to follow them for their entire life. This is called accountability training and, at a minimum, should help your teen practice responsibility and control before sending their next text message. Find your provider’s parental control plans. Note: iPhones are the most difficult to follow texts through your phone carrier. However, if you turn off iMessage in Settings you will force SMS messages, which are easier to follow on your device through carrier.
  2. Allow only the apps you think are best and change where apps are located. Take social media (and game) apps off the phone and add back only the most essential ones you deem necessary to the family/kitchen laptop. Changing the location of the social media apps is another easy way to lower distraction, be more purposeful, and balance time that can be easily wasted.
  3. Establish clear rules but not a smartphone contract. Parent (not child) writes and enforces the rules for smartphone use smartphone contracts do not work. Caution, managing the rules is a full-time job!
  4. Remove Safari from your child’s phone. They can still text without Safari. Problems stem from children having internet access in their pocket 24/7. This will provide a nice guardrail for distractions and some unnecessary content but remember, even with Safari removed on an iPhone your child can still view inappropriate content through texts, many social media apps, vault or hidden apps and even Pinterest.
  5. Reduce the amount of time on social media. Thirty minutes a day is more than enough time to touch base with family and friends, as no child realistically needs 7-9 hours a day to check on friends (and strangers). A reduction in time will mean more balance, less distractions and more time spent doing other activities.
  6. Set up accountability software. If you allow child/teen social media, then install an app that will allow you to follow their activity (with their knowledge). Also, you must know all of your child’s social media account passwords, and follow them on these accounts (a non-negotiable). Transparency and accountability is the key to social media success. Privacy is for voice phone calls, not for public posts, texts and photos.
  7. Increase real social interactions. Tweens and teens often feel more left out when they are on social media, as they see what the whole world is doing without them. Your teen will always socialize and bond better in person than on social media. Be sure your child is getting plenty of time with friends in person.

Like a coach, be firm but caring, always looking out for the best interest of your player and don’t forget to lead by example ... they are watching you the most.  Don’t be afraid to say “no” for now and don’t stress any longer over finding the best parental control, Mom and Dad, you happen to be perfect for the job!

For more tips on managing screens in your home go to www.familiesmanagingmedia.com.

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About This Blog

Moms Managing Media

Balancing technology with childhood


Melanie_Hempe_Moms_Managing_Media

About Melanie Hempe

Melanie Hempe is the founder of Families Managing Media. She has coached hundreds of families on the effects of screen media use and has helped them achieve a healthier, more balanced media life. With a nursing degree from Emory University, Melanie draws upon her medical background to demystify the questions of why technology has such a strong grip on our kids and why it is replacing normal childhood activities. She offers busy parents easy-to-follow scientific information and practical solutions for children of all ages, as she stresses the importance of REAL life connections in a digital world.

Melanie and her husband, Chris are raising four children in a media balanced home – and have successfully replaced video games with sports, music, art and good manners and they have also done the impossible: they have kept social media and smartphones from controlling their kids.

Read all blog posts »

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Daily Calendar

May 2020

Join us for the 6th Annual Pinky Swear Kids Triathlon and Fun Run. This non-timed and non-competitive race for kids of all abilities is followed by a family festival full of fun, music and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ingersoll Rand
800 Beaty St.
Davidson, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Every 1st Saturday of the month, join Drums4life drum circle to experience the spontaneous creation of music.

Cost: Free

Where:
Sugar Creek Library
4045 North Tryon St.
Suite A
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

A single balloon lifts the spirits of a solitary man in this sweet story for preschoolers. A mischievous balloon finds its way into the home of a solitary old man, and suddenly his curmudgeonly...

Cost: 10-12

Where:
Children's Theatre of Charlotte
300 E 7th St
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Sponsor: Children's Theatre of Charlotte
Telephone: 704-973-2826
Contact Name: Sarah Kasper
Website »

More information

The Sandra and Leon Levine Jewish Community Center (LJCC) will host its annual kids triathlon to benefit rehabilitation programs at Levine Children’s Hospital and...

Cost: $40 registration fee

Where:
Levine Jewish Community Center
5007 Providence Road
, NC
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Website »

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Classes for adaptive learning and sensory needs meet at 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

Cost: Free

Where:
Sun Valley High School
5211 Old Charlotte Hwy.
Monroe, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Church of the Redeemer
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Experience age-level appropriate Sunday school classes at 9:30 and 11 a.m. that connect families with larger church programs and ministries while creating a welcoming environment for all families.

Cost: Free

Where:
Matthews United Methodist Church
801 S. Trade St.
Matthews, NC
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Swim in the cool, deep water at Carrigan Farms Quarry. Ages 11 and younger must wear a life jacket in the water. Ages 12 and older are eligible to take the swim test. Bring your rod...

Cost: $15-$20 per person, cash or check only

Where:
The Quarry at Carrigan Farms
1213 Oak Ridge Farm Hwy.
Mooresville, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Carrigan Farms
Website »

More information

On Saturdays and Sundays from noon-5pm, the arcade bar opens to all ages with a parent or guardian present.

Cost: Cost for games

Where:
Abari Game Bar
1721 N. Davidson St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 980-430-4587
Website »

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Teach or play with your child in the heated pool.

Cost: $5 per swimmer, max $15 per family

Where:
Goldfish Swim School
13403 S. Ridge Drive
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Creepy Nature is designed to share the actual science of weird and unusual plants and animals. This exhibit features horror fiction concepts like vampires, zombies, mummies and alien invaders....

Cost: $6-$7, includes museum admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6908
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More information

Through this new exhibit, the NASCAR Hall of Fame pays tribute to the trucks and racers who made the Truck Series such a success. Haulin': 25 Years of NASCAR Trucks features eight race trucks,...

Cost: $18-$25, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. Martin Luther King Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This smash hit Broadway musical is loosely based on the rivalries within Diana Ross and The Supremes. Rated PG-13. See website for showtimes.

Cost: TBA

Where:
The Eloise MacDonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Theatre Charlotte
Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

This exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the black basalt sculpture made by Josiah Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potters in late eighteenth-century England. 

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Meet a real pirate and find hidden treasure in this swashbuckling adventure throughout the aquarium!

Cost: $12-$22, children younger than 2 free

Where:
SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
8111 Concord Mills Blvd.
Concord, NC
View map »


Sponsor: SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium
Website »

More information

Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art examines the rise of three-dimensional objects issued in editions, which emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s.

Cost: $5-$9, children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The Things Come Apart exhibit reveals the inner workings of common, everyday items. Images explore how things are designed and how technology has evolved over time.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The Salisbury Kennel Club will present this all-breed dog show.

Cost: Free, $5 for parking

Where:
Cabarrus Arena and Events Center
4751 NC Hwy. 49 N.
Concord, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibit explores the various aspects of walls, which includes the artistic, social, political and historical aspects, as well as the physical barriers like fences or sand berms. The space is...

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

A single balloon lifts the spirits of a solitary man in this sweet story for preschoolers. A mischievous balloon finds its way into the home of a solitary old man, and suddenly his curmudgeonly...

Cost: 10-12

Where:
Children's Theatre of Charlotte
300 E 7th St
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Sponsor: Children's Theatre of Charlotte
Telephone: 704-973-2826
Contact Name: Sarah Kasper
Website »

More information

Every 1st Saturday of the month, join Drums4life drum circle to experience the spontaneous creation of music.

Cost: Free

Where:
Sugar Creek Library
4045 North Tryon St.
Suite A
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Drop off your little ones to explore, play and learn during Music Mondays, Theater Thursdays and Food Fridays. A small snack is provided. Register online.

Cost: $21-$31

Where:
New Hope Baptist Church
2024 Redbud Drive
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Toddlers can enjoy a special jump session every weekday morning. With each child age 6 and younger, an adult may jump for free, not including DefyGravity socks for $3.

Cost: $11 for one hour

Where:
DefyGravity Trampoline Park
8116 University City Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows presented faith of Jesus Christ in song. Come discover the ways the Lord used their efforts and their music to open hearts around the world. Read inspiring...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $8, $10 on weekends and school holidays

Where:
Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

On the first Sunday of the month from April through December, explore food trucks, mobile shops and live music at Sycamore Brewing. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Sycamore Brewing
2161 Hawkins St.
, NC
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More information

Participants of all ages will learn proper Jazz dance technique. No previous dance experience required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Berewick Recreation Center
5910 Dixie River Road
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-414-2774
Website »

More information

Through this new exhibit, the NASCAR Hall of Fame pays tribute to the trucks and racers who made the Truck Series such a success. Haulin': 25 Years of NASCAR Trucks features eight race trucks,...

Cost: $18-$25, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. Martin Luther King Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art examines the rise of three-dimensional objects issued in editions, which emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s.

Cost: $5-$9, children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The Things Come Apart exhibit reveals the inner workings of common, everyday items. Images explore how things are designed and how technology has evolved over time.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us for our Pinkyswear Virtual Kids Triathlon event. This virtual event which kicks off formally on June 1st for all ages and abilities, and the triathlon can be completed anywhere! The...

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

A single balloon lifts the spirits of a solitary man in this sweet story for preschoolers. A mischievous balloon finds its way into the home of a solitary old man, and suddenly his curmudgeonly...

Cost: 10-12

Where:
Children's Theatre of Charlotte
300 E 7th St
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Sponsor: Children's Theatre of Charlotte
Telephone: 704-973-2826
Contact Name: Sarah Kasper
Website »

More information

Every 1st Saturday of the month, join Drums4life drum circle to experience the spontaneous creation of music.

Cost: Free

Where:
Sugar Creek Library
4045 North Tryon St.
Suite A
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Meet with a nationally certified Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) who will teach you the correct way to install your child's seat, provide safety recommendations and answer questions....

Cost: Free

Where:
Flint Hill Fire Dept. Station 1
1950 Hwy. 21 Bypass
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Sponsor: Britax Child Safety
Website »

More information

Toddlers can enjoy a special jump session every weekday morning. With each child age 6 and younger, an adult may jump for free, not including DefyGravity socks for $3.

Cost: $11 for one hour

Where:
DefyGravity Trampoline Park
8116 University City Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows presented faith of Jesus Christ in song. Come discover the ways the Lord used their efforts and their music to open hearts around the world. Read inspiring...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $8, $10 on weekends and school holidays

Where:
Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Teach or play with your child in the heated pool.

Cost: $5 per swimmer, max $15 per family

Where:
Goldfish Swim School
13403 S. Ridge Drive
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This workshop is open to all ages. No previous dance experience is required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School Recreation Site
500 Bilmark Ave.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Families of children with special needs can enjoy a special jump session the first Tuesday of each month. Defy Gravity grip socks, $3, are required.

Cost: $7 per hour for each jumper with special needs and immediate family members

Where:
Defy Gravity Trampoline Park
8116 University City Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Latin Dance explores the Caribbean dance styles of Salsa, Bachata and Merengue in a fun and energetic dance environment. The class is open to all ages and no previous dance experience is required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Belle Johnston Community Center
1000 Johnston Drive
Pineville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Latin Dance explores the Caribbean dance styles of Salsa, Bachata and Merengue in a fun and energetic dance environment.

Cost: Free

Where:
Albemarle Road Recreation Center
5027 North Idlewild Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the black basalt sculpture made by Josiah Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potters in late eighteenth-century England. 

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The Things Come Apart exhibit reveals the inner workings of common, everyday items. Images explore how things are designed and how technology has evolved over time.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us for our Pinkyswear Virtual Kids Triathlon event. This virtual event which kicks off formally on June 1st for all ages and abilities, and the triathlon can be completed anywhere! The...

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

A single balloon lifts the spirits of a solitary man in this sweet story for preschoolers. A mischievous balloon finds its way into the home of a solitary old man, and suddenly his curmudgeonly...

Cost: 10-12

Where:
Children's Theatre of Charlotte
300 E 7th St
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Sponsor: Children's Theatre of Charlotte
Telephone: 704-973-2826
Contact Name: Sarah Kasper
Website »

More information

Every 1st Saturday of the month, join Drums4life drum circle to experience the spontaneous creation of music.

Cost: Free

Where:
Sugar Creek Library
4045 North Tryon St.
Suite A
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Toddlers can enjoy a special jump session every weekday morning. With each child age 6 and younger, an adult may jump for free, not including DefyGravity socks for $3.

Cost: $11 for one hour

Where:
DefyGravity Trampoline Park
8116 University City Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows presented faith of Jesus Christ in song. Come discover the ways the Lord used their efforts and their music to open hearts around the world. Read inspiring...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $8, $10 on weekends and school holidays

Where:
Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore the Mint Museum's exhibitions without charge.

Cost: Free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph, 2730 Randolph Road
Mint Museum Uptown, 500 S. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-337-2000
Website »

More information

Ceramic teaching artists will walk participants through a clay project. Call 704-416-4400 to register.

Cost: Free

Where:
Hickory Grove Library
5935 Hickory Grove Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Through this new exhibit, the NASCAR Hall of Fame pays tribute to the trucks and racers who made the Truck Series such a success. Haulin': 25 Years of NASCAR Trucks features eight race trucks,...

Cost: $18-$25, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. Martin Luther King Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This smash hit Broadway musical is loosely based on the rivalries within Diana Ross and The Supremes. Rated PG-13. See website for showtimes.

Cost: TBA

Where:
The Eloise MacDonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Theatre Charlotte
Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

This exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the black basalt sculpture made by Josiah Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potters in late eighteenth-century England. 

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art examines the rise of three-dimensional objects issued in editions, which emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s.

Cost: $5-$9, children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The Things Come Apart exhibit reveals the inner workings of common, everyday items. Images explore how things are designed and how technology has evolved over time.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibit explores the various aspects of walls, which includes the artistic, social, political and historical aspects, as well as the physical barriers like fences or sand berms. The space is...

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us for our Pinkyswear Virtual Kids Triathlon event. This virtual event which kicks off formally on June 1st for all ages and abilities, and the triathlon can be completed anywhere! The...

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

A single balloon lifts the spirits of a solitary man in this sweet story for preschoolers. A mischievous balloon finds its way into the home of a solitary old man, and suddenly his curmudgeonly...

Cost: 10-12

Where:
Children's Theatre of Charlotte
300 E 7th St
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Sponsor: Children's Theatre of Charlotte
Telephone: 704-973-2826
Contact Name: Sarah Kasper
Website »

More information

Every 1st Saturday of the month, join Drums4life drum circle to experience the spontaneous creation of music.

Cost: Free

Where:
Sugar Creek Library
4045 North Tryon St.
Suite A
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Drop off your little ones to explore, play and learn during Music Mondays, Theater Thursdays and Food Fridays. A small snack is provided. Register online.

Cost: $21-$31

Where:
New Hope Baptist Church
2024 Redbud Drive
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Toddlers can enjoy a special jump session every weekday morning. With each child age 6 and younger, an adult may jump for free, not including DefyGravity socks for $3.

Cost: $11 for one hour

Where:
DefyGravity Trampoline Park
8116 University City Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows presented faith of Jesus Christ in song. Come discover the ways the Lord used their efforts and their music to open hearts around the world. Read inspiring...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $8, $10 on weekends and school holidays

Where:
Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Afrobics is a full body, fun experience—a dance fitness class combining Afrofusion movement to an African beat.

Cost: Free

Where:
Naomi Drenan Recreation Center
750 Beal St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Hear live music every Thursday, June 4 through August 13. Bring chairs, blankets, and money for food trucks, beer, wine and sodas. See website for lineup.

Cost: $5 per person (free for members); $5 per car for parking

Where:
Anne Springs Close Greenway
291 Dairy Barn Ln.
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

River Jam brings live music outdoors, right in the middle of the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. Hear music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, as well as during each of...

Cost: $6 for parking

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Website »

More information

Through this new exhibit, the NASCAR Hall of Fame pays tribute to the trucks and racers who made the Truck Series such a success. Haulin': 25 Years of NASCAR Trucks features eight race trucks,...

Cost: $18-$25, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. Martin Luther King Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This smash hit Broadway musical is loosely based on the rivalries within Diana Ross and The Supremes. Rated PG-13. See website for showtimes.

Cost: TBA

Where:
The Eloise MacDonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Theatre Charlotte
Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

This exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the black basalt sculpture made by Josiah Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potters in late eighteenth-century England. 

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art examines the rise of three-dimensional objects issued in editions, which emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s.

Cost: $5-$9, children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The Things Come Apart exhibit reveals the inner workings of common, everyday items. Images explore how things are designed and how technology has evolved over time.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibit explores the various aspects of walls, which includes the artistic, social, political and historical aspects, as well as the physical barriers like fences or sand berms. The space is...

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us for our Pinkyswear Virtual Kids Triathlon event. This virtual event which kicks off formally on June 1st for all ages and abilities, and the triathlon can be completed anywhere! The...

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Every 1st Saturday of the month, join Drums4life drum circle to experience the spontaneous creation of music.

Cost: Free

Where:
Sugar Creek Library
4045 North Tryon St.
Suite A
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

A dynamic stage performer has been cast as Blippi to entertain and thrill audiences in a live musical.

Cost: $24.75-$65

Where:
Belk Theater
130 N. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The businesses at the Warehouses on White are pleased to host families and friends on the first Friday of the month for a night of fun and food.

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Warehouses on White
130 W. White St.
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

Fans will enjoy Friday Night Fireworks and Scout Sleepover. 

Cost: $13+

Where:
BB&T Stadium
324 S. Mint St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Drop off your little ones to explore, play and learn during Music Mondays, Theater Thursdays and Food Fridays. A small snack is provided. Register online.

Cost: $21-$31

Where:
New Hope Baptist Church
2024 Redbud Drive
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Toddlers can enjoy a special jump session every weekday morning. With each child age 6 and younger, an adult may jump for free, not including DefyGravity socks for $3.

Cost: $11 for one hour

Where:
DefyGravity Trampoline Park
8116 University City Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows presented faith of Jesus Christ in song. Come discover the ways the Lord used their efforts and their music to open hearts around the world. Read inspiring...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $8, $10 on weekends and school holidays

Where:
Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Caregivers and their littles learn new yoga poses with songs and games. Multiple class rates available.

Cost: $20

Where:
Tiny Blooms Yoga
15905 Brookway Drive
Suite 4106
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy the SingPlayMove experience in the comfort of your own home. This 30-minute class is presented through Zoom.  Each week's class will have a unique Zoom Meeting ID and...

Cost: $12 per child

Where:
Online
345 N. College St.
, NC  28202
View map »


Sponsor: Arts+
Website »

More information

Teach or play with your child in the heated pool.

Cost: $5 per swimmer, max $15 per family

Where:
Goldfish Swim School
13403 S. Ridge Drive
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Songwriters Eve and Natalie, host SongShare - a free online songwriting  space for students middle school to high school to sing, play and share. SongShare was...

Cost: Free

Where:
Online only! Zoom classroom
Charlotte, NC


Sponsor: Find Your Voice: A Songwriting Experience
Website »

More information

A single balloon lifts the spirits of a solitary man in this sweet story for preschoolers. A mischievous balloon finds its way into the home of a solitary old man, and suddenly his curmudgeonly...

Cost: 10-12

Where:
Children's Theatre of Charlotte
300 E 7th St
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Sponsor: Children's Theatre of Charlotte
Telephone: 704-973-2826
Contact Name: Sarah Kasper
Website »

More information

rab dinner from a variety of local food trucks at this weekly rally. Visit the website for a list of participating trucks.

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Resident Culture Brewing Company
2101 Central Ave.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This family-friendly event features craft brews, wine, cider, live music and the best food trucks in Charlotte. Bring the whole family, including your dogs. Along...

Cost: Free

Where:
Sycamore Brewing
2161 Hawkins St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Treat the kids and yourself to a fun night out! Drop kids off to run, play and dance. Pizza dinner is included.

Cost: $25

Where:
Romp n' Roll NW Charlotte
3611 Mt. Holly-Huntersville Road
207
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The businesses at the Warehouses on White are pleased to host each first Friday for a night of fun and food!

Cost: Free

Where:
Warehouse on White
130 W. White St.
Rock Hill, SC
View map »


Website »

More information

River Jam brings live music outdoors, right in the middle of the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. Hear music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, as well as during each of...

Cost: $6 for parking

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Website »

More information

The DJ and beverage garden will kick off at 6pm, and featured bands will start at 7pm. Food will be available for purchase.

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Belmont
Main Street
Belmont, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Through this new exhibit, the NASCAR Hall of Fame pays tribute to the trucks and racers who made the Truck Series such a success. Haulin': 25 Years of NASCAR Trucks features eight race trucks,...

Cost: $18-$25, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. Martin Luther King Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This smash hit Broadway musical is loosely based on the rivalries within Diana Ross and The Supremes. Rated PG-13. See website for showtimes.

Cost: TBA

Where:
The Eloise MacDonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Theatre Charlotte
Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

This exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the black basalt sculpture made by Josiah Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potters in late eighteenth-century England. 

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Taste of Charlotte is a three-day festival featuring samples from area restaurants along with live entertainment, children’s activities, cooking demonstrations, performances...

Cost: Free admission, cost for food

Where:
Uptown Charlotte
5th Street to Stonewall
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art examines the rise of three-dimensional objects issued in editions, which emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s.

Cost: $5-$9, children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The Things Come Apart exhibit reveals the inner workings of common, everyday items. Images explore how things are designed and how technology has evolved over time.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

See the original, Broadway-style dinner show, and experience the story of Stephen and the Apostles. See website for showtimes.

Cost: $10-$40

Where:
NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy 51
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Sponsor: NarroWay Productions
Telephone: 803-802-2300
Website »

More information

This exhibit explores the various aspects of walls, which includes the artistic, social, political and historical aspects, as well as the physical barriers like fences or sand berms. The space is...

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us for our Pinkyswear Virtual Kids Triathlon event. This virtual event which kicks off formally on June 1st for all ages and abilities, and the triathlon can be completed anywhere! The...

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Every 1st Saturday of the month, join Drums4life drum circle to experience the spontaneous creation of music.

Cost: Free

Where:
Sugar Creek Library
4045 North Tryon St.
Suite A
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Arts+ will provide a visual art workshop series with live music.

Cost: Free

Where:
Beatties Ford Road Regional Library
2412 Beatties Ford Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Arts+ will provide a visual art workshop series with live music.

Cost: Free

Where:
Independence Regional Library
6000 Conference Drive
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Check out more than 100 vendors, 18 free rides, fireworks and live music. Shuttle locations to parking will be available.

Cost: Free

Where:
Crooked Creek Park
5900 Oakwood Lane
Indian Trail, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy this outdoor musical celebration. Tailgating spaces will be available. Salisbury Swing Band will perform at 5pm; the Salisbury Symphony will perform at 7:30pm.

Cost: Free

Where:
N.C. Transportation Museum
1 Samuel Spencer Drive
Salisbury, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Experience storyteller, Carolyn Evans as she portrays moments from Harriet Tubman's life and work with the Underground Railroad. Light refreshments will be served. RSVP to reserve your seat.

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Latta Plantation
5225 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Performing storyteller, Carolyn Evans will portray moments from Harriet Tubman's life in this Histo-Drama about her life and work with the Underground Railroad. Light refreshments will be...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Latta Plantation
5225 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-875-2312
Website »

More information

Get ready for the ultimate rock and worship experience at Rock the Park in the Carowinds’ Paladium Amphitheatre.

Cost: TBA

Where:
Carowinds Paladium
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

All Kids Workshop attendees must be accompanied by a parent or adult at all times. All kids get to keep their craft, receive a free certificate of achievement, a workshop apron, and a commemorative...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Home Depot
4750 South Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Explore art and music through the eyes of your child. Registration includes access to Family Portrait and Musical Saturdays programs.

Cost: $10 per child

Where:
The Bridge
4100 Raleigh St.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Arts+
Website »

More information

George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows presented faith of Jesus Christ in song. Come discover the ways the Lord used their efforts and their music to open hearts around the world. Read inspiring...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

Swim in the cool, deep water at Carrigan Farms Quarry. Ages 11 and younger must wear a life jacket in the water. Ages 12 and older are eligible to take the swim test. Bring your rod...

Cost: $15-$20 per person, cash or check only

Where:
The Quarry at Carrigan Farms
1213 Oak Ridge Farm Hwy.
Mooresville, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Carrigan Farms
Website »

More information

The City of Charlotte's Animal Care and Control will bring a selection of dogs, puppies, cats and kittens to the center court inside the mall for adoption.

Cost: Adoption prices may vary per pet

Where:
SouthPark Mall
4400 Sharon Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

On Saturdays and Sundays from noon-5pm, the arcade bar opens to all ages with a parent or guardian present.

Cost: Cost for games

Where:
Abari Game Bar
1721 N. Davidson St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 980-430-4587
Website »

More information

Arts+ will provide a visual art workshop series with live music.

Cost: Free

Where:
Beatties Ford Road Regional Library
2412 Beatties Ford Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Let Arts+ teaching artists guide you towards your artistic goals. Any young artist interested in a career in the arts can benefit from this collaborative creative environment.

Cost: $10

Where:
The Bridge
4100 Raleigh St.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Arts+
Website »

More information

River Jam brings live music outdoors, right in the middle of the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. Hear music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, as well as during each of...

Cost: $6 for parking

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Website »

More information

Through this new exhibit, the NASCAR Hall of Fame pays tribute to the trucks and racers who made the Truck Series such a success. Haulin': 25 Years of NASCAR Trucks features eight race trucks,...

Cost: $18-$25, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
NASCAR Hall of Fame
400 E. Martin Luther King Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This smash hit Broadway musical is loosely based on the rivalries within Diana Ross and The Supremes. Rated PG-13. See website for showtimes.

Cost: TBA

Where:
The Eloise MacDonald Playhouse
501 Queens Road
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: Theatre Charlotte
Telephone: 704-372-1000
Website »

More information

This exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the black basalt sculpture made by Josiah Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potters in late eighteenth-century England. 

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Taste of Charlotte is a three-day festival featuring samples from area restaurants along with live entertainment, children’s activities, cooking demonstrations, performances...

Cost: Free admission, cost for food

Where:
Uptown Charlotte
5th Street to Stonewall
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art examines the rise of three-dimensional objects issued in editions, which emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s.

Cost: $5-$9, children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The Things Come Apart exhibit reveals the inner workings of common, everyday items. Images explore how things are designed and how technology has evolved over time.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

See the original, Broadway-style dinner show, and experience the story of Stephen and the Apostles. See website for showtimes.

Cost: $10-$40

Where:
NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy 51
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Sponsor: NarroWay Productions
Telephone: 803-802-2300
Website »

More information

This exhibit explores the various aspects of walls, which includes the artistic, social, political and historical aspects, as well as the physical barriers like fences or sand berms. The space is...

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us for our Pinkyswear Virtual Kids Triathlon event. This virtual event which kicks off formally on June 1st for all ages and abilities, and the triathlon can be completed anywhere! The...

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

A single balloon lifts the spirits of a solitary man in this sweet story for preschoolers. A mischievous balloon finds its way into the home of a solitary old man, and suddenly his curmudgeonly...

Cost: 10-12

Where:
Children's Theatre of Charlotte
300 E 7th St
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Sponsor: Children's Theatre of Charlotte
Telephone: 704-973-2826
Contact Name: Sarah Kasper
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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Annual Guides

G.P.S. [Go.Play.See]

Your guide to raising kids in the Queen City, plus our 2019 Readers' Favorites for places to play, explore and learn with the kids.

Education Guide

A comprehensive guide to independent, private, charter and public schools in Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Union and York counties.
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