Do you sing to your kids before bed? Did your parents sing to you when you were little?
I don’t remember if my parents sang to me, but some of my earliest memories are associated with music. Music was always playing in our house and I can mark specific times in my life by very specific songs. I hope to pass along a love of good music to my little ones. And though most people would discourage my singing (the voice is just not what I would hope), my little ones think I have a beautiful voice! I sing to my kids every day throughout the day, but I like for bedtime to be a little bit more routine. And I have a repertoire that includes a handful of songs.
I thought I would share our favorite modern lullabies for a new generation:
We ALWAYS sing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” – all 5 verses (sometimes 6). Didn’t know there were 6 verses to Twinkle, Twinkle? We made up a few (including my husband’s version: Pickle, Pickle in a Jar).
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And we sing some other not so well-known lullabies. They are actually songs I love that remind me of lullabies. Here are my favorite songs to sing to our little ones before they drift off to sleep.
Josh Ritter: “In Your Arms a While”
This is a brand-new one for us – it came out when my first round of babies were little. My older girls both know it from hearing the song in the car and so I like to sing it to them before they go to bed. My favorite line: “You got my heart in your pocket.”
Lullaby line: “Hold me in your arms awhile, and I will hold you in my arms awhile, I will hold you in my arms just a little bit longer.”
John Prine: I Love you So Much it Hurts
This one fits the old style lullabies where they scared little children before tucking them in, but I love it anyway. It was originally written by Floyd Tilman back in the 1940’s, but I just love the way John Prine’s voice lends gravitas to it (please excuse the video…wish there was one from John Prine).
By the way, my little guy LOVES this song so much, he memorized it and sang it to me. It melts my heart and is a treasure for sure.
Lullaby Line: “I love you so much it hurts me…I’m afraid to go to bed at night…”
Townes Van Zandt: If I Needed You
This song just works on every level because it is one of the most perfect songs ever! I am a huge Townes fan and I just love sharing this song with my little ones. It is just classic! Recently, I introduced my 3 year old boy to this song and he requests it about 90% of the time. After I finish singing it, every time, he says, “I love that song. That’s a great song.”
Lullaby Line: “If I needed you would you come to me? If you needed me, I would come to you. I would swim the seas for to ease your pain.”
Peter Bradley Adams: For You
Like most of Adams other songs, the tempo is just right for lulling one to sleep. The sentiments are also just right for raising little ones to know the power and unending bounds of mom and dad’s love.
Lullaby Line: “If your dreaming ever wakes you, And you find your dreaming wasn’t true, Wipe the sleep from your eyes, Leave the nightmares behind, And I’ll dream a better dream for you.”
Joe Ely: If You Were a Bluebird
I love this song so much I can barely stand it! It was written by Butch Hancock, but Joe sings it best. I do realize it is more of a love song, but it works well for kids and parents, too.
Lullaby Line: “If I was a highway, I’d stretch alongside you, I’d help you pass by ways that had dissatisfied you.”
What interesting lullabies do you sing to your little ones? I would love to hear them!