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Lisa Loeb: A Moving and Shaking Mama

Lisa Loeb holding son Emet Lisa Loeb Photography
by Roey Hershkovitz

Multitasking seems easy for musician and mommy-on-the-go Lisa Loeb, who's raising a toddler (daughter Lyla Rose, 3) and an infant (son Emet Kuli, 7 months). Loeb became popular for the songs "Stay (I Missed You)," featured in the movie Reality Bites, "Do You Sleep?" and "How," and has released eight studio albums since the early '90s. In addition to having a successful singing career, she has appeared on film (House on a Haunted Hill, Fright Night) and on television (the series finale of Gossip Girl). In 2008, she launched a nonprofit company, The Camp Lisa Foundation, which raises funds to send kids to camp. Loeb published a children's book with accompanying CD in 2011 and is releasing a follow-up book with CD in April 2013. A new album, No Fairy Tale, will be released in January.

You're in the process of publishing a new children's book that includes a CD, Lisa Loeb's Songs for Moving and Shaking. Tell me about it.

Lisa Loeb's Silly Sing-Along: The Disappointing Pancake and Other Zany Songs is the second in my series. This book will focus on getting children walking, jumping, dancing, and shaking, and the songs include classic tunes like "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" and [Loeb's song] "Peanut Butter & Jelly." Each one has a hand-clapping motion or another easy movement children can follow. There are also a bunch of new tracks, like a yoga song and "The Monster Stomp," which I cowrote with friends who produce music for the popular Disney Jr. show Doc McStuffins.

When did you decide to parlay your talent and channel your experience into writing and recording children's songs?

The opportunity came before I was a mother. I always wanted to make a children's album because you have the freedom to explore so many wonderful topics and sounds. It's creatively so much more challenging -- more so than writing grown-up music. However, I also like bringing the grown-up side of making music to a young mind.

What inspired you to write a book like this one? When you wrote this book, did you want to accomplish a particular goal?

I was inspired by my time at summer camp. We would sing on the walks to lunch, to the lake, or on our way to bed. They were fun, silly sing-along songs that kids liked to do together. So with both books, I wanted to bring children back to the simpler times when fun was all about moving and doing. I want children to be glued to interactive books that encourage singing and dancing. I feel when kids work together it brings about a different energy.

What age range are these songs and movements appropriate for? Can parents do these activities with their kids at home?

They're perfect for kids age 2 to 5 who like to sing. [The activities] are so simple you can even do them in the car or at the dinner table.

Are you also trying to teach children about the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle?

I think so. When I grew up we had gym at school, two or three dance classes after school, ice skating lessons, and all sorts of sports at our finger tips. We weren't glued to computers because they didn't exist, so being active was all we knew.

What activities do you do with your own children?

With my daughter, we do arts and crafts, we read a lot, we listen to music, and we cut the strings off balloons and bounce them around after birthday parties.

Why is music an important theme in your household? How has music or singing a song helped you overcome small obstacles with your own children?

Because I'm a professional musician and my husband [Roey Hershkovitz] works in music production at a TV show, I've seen how incorporating music into daily lives makes people feel happy. Plus, it encourages them to enjoy life and move. Whenever we get into tantrum areas such as transitioning from one activity to the next, a song about how much fun it is to brush teeth or take a bath can distract my daughter and help her move forward.

Do you take the children on the road with you whlie on tour? If not, what are the benefits of leaving them with other people?

We find it best to leave the children at home with their grandparents or our nanny and keep them in their regular routines. With my daughter, I see how independent she has become and I feel it's because she has been able to have all of these wonderful experiences with other people. When I take her to the park, I'm amazed at all of the cool stuff she has learned and can do on her own. I really believe that confidence comes from her having the ability to do things with other people who she loves and trusts.

What's your parenting philosophy?

I'm still working on that [laughs]. I'm definitely into the idea of disciplining because I feel it teaches healthy boundaries. I do, however, need to get better at saying "no" and following through on it.

What are the top three lessons you want to teach your children?

To respect other people, to take care of themselves -- eating well, sleeping [well], and being healthy -- and to have fun by making friends and developing an interest in things they enjoy.

Copyright © 2013 Meredith Corporation.