When you think back to your childhood, there’s a good chance that you remember some of the songs that your parents used to sing to you while you were falling asleep. This is for good reason; lullabies are an important part of a baby’s development. And they’re an important part of the baby-parent bonding experience.
When babies listen to lullabies, multiple areas within their brain are ignited. Not only that, but the sounds of a song slows a baby’s heart rate down and helps to calm them. 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 concerned about not having a strong singing voice, or not knowing enough baby bedtime songs, don’t worry. Your baby is comforted by your voice no matter what it sounds like. And luckily, there’s no real definition for what constitutes a lullaby, meaning you can sing just about anything. As long as it’s gentle and rhythmic, your baby will be soothed by it.
But if you’re looking for some song inspiration, we’ve compiled a list of 10 popular bedtime nursery songs for babies.
Most Popular Bedtime Nursery Songs
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
When it comes to baby bedtime songs, this song is a classic. But did you know that the lyrics are based on a 19th century Jane Taylor poem, and the music is based on a French melody from 1761? This song will continue to be timeless, meaning it’s a great song to teach your child. Plus, as they start to grow older, you can start incorporating sign language movements to coordinate with the lyrics.
Supposedly, this song was written by a pilgrim who sailed to America. In the midst of the trip, the pilgrim noticed the way that Native American women rocked their babies to sleep in cradles within the branches of a tree, which caused the wind to rock the baby to sleep.
The 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 most popular pieces. The song was written for both voice and piano, so it’s the ideal song for a lullaby.
When You Wish Upon a Star
This song first appeared in the Disney animated film Pinocchio in 1940. Amongst all of the Disney songs, this is one of the most popular songs (plus it won an Academy Award for Best Song). Regardless of 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 throw in some modern-day options. John Legend’s infamous song “All of Me” is a great option. Plus, it’s rumored that John Legend sang this song to his daughter for her lullaby. If it works for John Legend, it might work for you too!
You are my Sunshine
With positive and upbeat lyrics, this is a great song to sing to your baby. The song has been around for more than 80 years, and its origins aren’t very well defined. Some say that a woman from South Carolina wrote the song. Others give country singer Oliver Hood the credit. Since its release in 1939, it’s been covered and recorded by over 350 other artists, making it a very popular tune.
Based on a French nursery rhyme, this song’s lyrics describe a monk (Brother John) who has slept in too late and is forced to wake up to ring the bell for the early 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 easy enough to learn.
Many people wrongly assume that this song has traditional Austrian origins. This isn’t the case. This song was actually written by Rodgers and Hammerstein specifically for the 1965 movie The Sound of Music. Despite its origins, the song is lovely and rhythmic, making it a great choice for a lullaby.
Over the Rainbow
To continue with another song made popular by a movie, Over the Rainbow was composed by Harold Arlen with lyrics by Yip Harburg for the movie The Wizard of Oz. The song, which was sung by Judy Garland in the movie, won an Academy Award 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 meant to illustrate a sermon that he was giving. The song itself was published in 1779, and tells a simple yet powerful message of God’s forgiveness and mercy.
Although these song suggestions are meant to provide inspiration, the reality is that any song you sing to your child will be warmly received. A lullaby is more about the connection and the relaxing nature than it is about the song choice and vocal mastery. So try it out. We’re certain that you and your baby will both enjoy the soothing effects of a lullaby at bedtime.