When you think back to your childhood, chances are you remember some of the songs your parents used to sing to you while you fell asleep. It’s for good reason; lullabies are an important part of a baby’s development. And they are an important part of the baby-parent bonding experience.
When babies listen to lullabies, several areas of their brains are inflamed. Not only that, but the sounds of a song slow down a baby’s heartbeat and help calm him down. Listening to lullabies can actually prepare your baby for future reading skills and language acquisition, making it an important part of their bedtime routine.
If you’re worried about not having a loud voice or not knowing enough baby songs, don’t worry. Your baby is comforted by your voice, no matter what it sounds like. And thankfully, there’s no real definition of what constitutes a lullaby, which means you can sing along to just about anything. As long as it is soft and rhythmic, your baby will be soothed.
But if you’re looking for song inspiration, we’ve compiled a list of 10 popular nursery songs for babies.
Most popular nursery songs for bedtime
Twinkle, twinkle, little star
As far as baby bedtime songs go, this song is a classic. But did you know that the lyrics are based on a 19th century poem by Jane Taylor and the music is based on a French melody from 1761? This song will continue to be timeless, which means it’s a great song to teach your child. Also, as they begin to age, you can begin to incorporate sign language movements to coordinate with the lyrics.
Supposedly, this song was written by a pilgrim who sailed to America. Midway through the journey, the Pilgrim noticed how Native American women rocked their babies to sleep in cradles in the branches of a tree, causing the wind to rock the baby to sleep.
Brahms’ Lullaby, also known as “Wiegenlied”, was written by composer Johannes Brahmns in 1868. Although the composer is known for a number of pieces, this lullaby happens to be one of his pieces the most popular. The song was written for voice and piano, so it’s the perfect song for a lullaby.
When you wish for a star
This song first appeared in Disney’s animated film Pinocchio in 1940. Among all Disney songs, it is one of the most popular songs (in addition, it won an Oscar for best song). Whether or not you’re a Disney fanatic, this can be a sweet song to sing to your child.
All of me
Although there are a number of classic songs to sing to your child, you can always add modern options. John Legend’s infamous song “All of Me” is a great option. Moreover, John Legend is said to have sung this song to his daughter for her lullaby. If it works for John Legend, it could work for you too!
You are my sun
With positive and upbeat lyrics, it’s a great song to sing to your baby. The song has been around for over 80 years and its origins are not very well defined. Some say a woman from South Carolina wrote the song. Others credit country singer Oliver Hood. Since its release in 1939, it has been covered and recorded by over 350 other artists, making it a hugely popular track.
Based on a French nursery rhyme, the lyrics of this song describe a monk (Brother John) who has overslept and is forced to wake up to ring the bell for morning prayers. With both English and French lyrics, this can be a fun song to use as a lullaby. Even if you don’t know French, the lyrics are quite easy to learn.
Many people mistakenly assume that this song has traditional Austrian origins. This is not the case. This song was actually written by Rodgers and Hammerstein specifically for the 1965 film The sound of music. Despite its origins, the song is beautiful and upbeat, making it an excellent choice for a lullaby.
above the rainbow
Continuing with another song made popular by a film, Over the Rainbow was composed by Harold Arlen with lyrics by Yip Harburg for the film. The Wizard of Oz. The song, which was sung by Judy Garland in the film, won an Oscar in 1939.
With origins dating back to the late 16th century, Amazing Grace is arguably one of the most popular hymns in the world. John Newton, an English poet and Anglican clergyman, began writing the (now famous) lyrics in 1773. The lyrics were intended to illustrate a sermon he was giving. The song itself was published in 1779 and tells a simple yet powerful message of God’s forgiveness and mercy.
While these song suggestions are meant to inspire, the reality is that any song you sing to your child will be warmly welcomed. A lullaby is more about connection and relaxing nature than song choice and vocal mastery. So try it. We’re sure you and your baby will both enjoy the soothing effects of a bedtime lullaby.