Nursery rhymes are gentle and relaxing to help your baby sleep better. You need an amazing bedtime collection to sing your kid into dreamland every night. From modern songs to classic tunes, here are some of the best lullaby songs.
1. Rock-A-Bye Baby
This famous mother goose song dates back to the 18th Century. Many theories are bound to the mysterious lyrics, which are quite frankly a little dark and creepy. However, the lyrics have changed a little over the years.
Modern versions usually alter the first lyrics, Hush-a-bye to rock-a-bye. The concept of a falling cradle doesn’t seem peaceful and restful. But don’t be fooled because this melody has lulled many babies to sleep. It’s one of the classic tunes that have stood the test of time.
There are some different versions, but a great lullaby should be soft to help the baby drift off. This song is short and easy to sing, be sure to listen to it first before you start playing for the baby.
Regardless of what the lyrics mean or what the song is for, this is a great nursery tune, especially when the baby is still young. You can download and play it or learn the lyrics and sing for the baby if you want quality one-on-one time.
2. Hush, Little Baby
You probably already know this song by heart, but it’s worth mentioning because the classic lyrics will never get old. Like other folk songs, the date of origin and author are unknown. But the song is said to have been written in the Southern United States.
It’s an old lullaby that you probably heard growing up, and now it’s time to pass it down to your child. It’s like a promise for your baby that you will always be there. In the song, the baby gets a gift, and it’s faulty in one way or another; they get another one.
You can sing it for as long as you like and even come up with other gifts that rhyme with the song’s pattern. The iconic tune has been performed and recorded by famous artists over the years, meaning there are many versions online.
But the original version is the best to lull your baby. Most parents will go to the ends of the earth for their baby, but all your baby wants to hear is your pledge of affection and love.
3. The Cradle Song (Brahms’ Lullaby)
The title of this song doesn’t lend you a clue of what the song is about, but it’s full of comfort. It was originally in German, but there is an English version. It soothes the baby to sleep without worry, and even at one point in the lyrics, it says the angels are near.
If you can’t sing, you can hum your way through it to help the baby sleep. The author, Johannes Brahms, dedicated the song to his friends after the birth of her second child. The song is from the 1860s, but it’s still widely used in nurseries today.
It took a collection of different German folk poems to create the lyrics. For a song this old, you already know people have made different versions of it over the years. The maternal reflection in the song is beautiful. When sung softly, your baby won’t have any trouble reaching dreamland.
4. Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
This is one of the most common lullabies for babies to go to sleep. It’s sung in most daycares and nurseries around the world. The idea of the disappearing sun and stars in the sky is enough to evoke sleep.
The lyrics are from Jane Taylor’s poem of 1806. The popular song has five stanzas, but only the first one is widely known, and that’s all you need to get the baby sleeping. Your child will look at the night sky and try to figure out what stars are at one point.
The song won’t tell the baby what the celestial spheres are, but it carries a beautiful message. Your baby will fall asleep to the idea of twinkling little stars in the sky that remain there until the sun comes back again.
Even if the baby is too young to grasp the concept of stars, the slow tune from this melody will make them feel better. The internet has you covered; you can get the tune without lyrics or the whole song at an even slower pace for the baby.
5. A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes
Disney has several lullabies, but this melody from the Cinderella film in 1950 has to be one of the favorites. The lyrics’ sentiments are about faith and dreams. It’s a nice thing to teach your baby as they grow up, even if it is by singing to them as they sleep.
If you get the song directly from the movie, you will also hear bird sounds that make it even more bedtime-worthy. It’s a slow-paced melody you can sing over and over again without feeling sick of it.
It’s best for slightly bigger kids who can understand what the song says because the message is essential. It wasn’t a lullaby song, but parents took it and ran with it. Now you can sing or play it to your baby anytime they want to take a nap. It encourages them that good things can come from dreams.
6. You Are My Sunshine
This song has been translated into over 20 languages and recorded by more than 300 artists. The catchy chorus is why this song is a popular lullaby. However, the chorus doesn’t reveal what the song is about.
It’s a sad story about heartbreak; that’s why most parents stick to the lighter lines in the chorus. If you don’t want to get through the whole song, repeat the chorus until the young one sleeps.
The narrator tells someone they are his sunshine and a source of happiness when the skies are grey. Aside from being a great lullaby, it’s a sweet reminder of how much your baby means to you. You don’t even need the musical instruments accompanying the song; you can learn the words and sing, which will still be amazing.
Keep it simple by singing in a soft tone and using repetitive words because it gets the baby to dreamland faster. Singing lullaby can be a lovely addition to your bedtime ritual.
7. Are You Sleeping? (Frere Jacques)
You can give this classic French lullaby a try. You don’t need a whole performance to make your baby sleep if you have such a melody and lyrics. It’s more of a morning song, but most people use it as a lullaby, and who are we to argue?
It says the morning bells are ringing, and the singer is asking brother john whether he is still sleeping. The repetition of ‘ding, dang dong’ at the end is probably what gest most babies to drift off. You can use it also when the child starts school and likes to oversleep.
Instead of scaring them out of bed, the song can wake them calmly. The curiously restful song lyrics are available in French and English. Pair the lullaby with rocking if you want the little one to sleep even faster.
Ensure you sing it in a peaceful place to avoid distractions. You only need a short version of the sleeping song, one that’s quick to learn the words.
8. All the Pretty Little Horses
This song is also known as hush-a-bye. You will come across different variants of the lyrics depending on the artist. The song’s true origin is still unclear, but as long as the song does its job, it doesn’t matter.
However, the concept of nice things when you wake remains constant in all variations. It soothes the baby to sleep by telling them they will have all the pretty little horses when they get up. Your baby will go to dreamland knowing better things await them tomorrow.
Once you get the baby to a comfortable, cozy place, the lullaby will just be the cherry on top of the cake. Most babies like to grab and play with things around them. If there aren’t such distractions, sleep will naturally come with the help of a beautiful soft song.
Instead of singing the same song every day, try making the nursery rhyme collection more diverse by adding such pieces. Each song makes the baby feel different, and some are more effective than others.
9. Stay Awake
It’s time to use some sophisticated reverse psychology with this tune. It’s from the Mary Poppins movie. Every line in the song urges your baby to stay awake and resist sleep. It says even though the baby’s pillow is soft and deep and the whole world is sleeping, they should stay awake.
Well, that never happens because this song will make them sleep faster than you can imagine. If you have watched Mary Poppins, you will see that sleep overtook the skids even before the song ends. However, if the baby is small, they may not understand reverse psychology; they will just enjoy the tune while off to slumber.
Most children will protest when it’s bedtime, but you can easily sing them to sleep once you get them there. Other artists also record this song if you want to explore different versions. It’s a short track that won’t even take two minutes.
Babies can also have a favorite lullaby; you may be sticking to one song that’s not working when there are plenty of options.
10. Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral (That’s An Irish Lullaby)
From the title, you already know this one will be so much fun. The most infectious part is the giggle-worthy chorus. Your baby is bound to enjoy this song that goes down from one generation to the next.
It was written long ago, and it got lost for a while before Bing Crosby made it famous again in 1944. Now it’s a must-have in your baby’s nursery bedtime playlist. There are many lullaby songs, but you have to choose the ones your kids will remember and probably sing to your grandkids someday.
The narrator remembers how his mother sang for him and how he could give anything to hear her sing today. The concept is sad, but your main focus is the chorus. This song did very well on music charts and sold over a million copies. Whichever routine you have every night should include this Irish vintage melody.
11. Danny Boy
This wistful and whimsical song wasn’t an Irish lullaby initially like most people believe. A lawyer and lyricist wrote the original version in 1910. He changed it to what it is now in 1913 after influence from his sister-in-law. But it’s Elsie Griffin who made this piece famous because of her incredible voice. T
There is nothing from the lyrics that tell the baby to sleep, but the tune and tempo of the song are enough. If you are keen on the song, you will realize it’s a parent telling their child goodbye and ends up dead at the end.
There are various interpretations, but some people think that it’s a parent going off to war. The song is widespread; you probably know the opening lines. If you don’t, take your time to familiarize yourself with the words.
You can also put it on and hum through it as long as you get the beat right. When everything fails, singing is usually the only thing left to make the baby sleep.
12. Lullabye (Goodnight My Angel)
Billy Joel wrote this piece for his daughter; it’s packed with love and tender lyrics. It’s a reminder to your child that they will never be alone in any situation. Even if they leave the nest and go away, you will not be far away.
Babies can’t speak, but Billy says he thinks he finally understands what his daughter was asking. That’s why he promises to always be there. If this beautiful message isn’t enough to make you use this tune to lull the baby, then the vocals and musicality will.
The singer’s contribution is very touching. Softly sing it to your baby and watch them close their eyes. There are a lot of calming words in the lyrics. However, you may also hear this song at funerals and weddings, but it’s a lullaby before anything else.
One way of getting quality father-baby time is by going through the bedtime routine together. This magical song is from the album River Of Dreams in 1993. Joel later wrote a children’s book titled ‘Goodnight, My Angel (A Lullabye).’
13. Silent Night
How about a holiday-themed lullaby? You can even accompany the song with a holiday book that explains Christmas. The song is soft and delicate, which is what you look for in a lullaby melody.
It’s soothing, and it tells the story of Christmas in the sweetest and simples way. You won’t have to learn this song because you probably know it. It’s not the first song parents think of when looking for a lullaby, but it can surprise you.
You can sing it whenever you want, but it will be more impactful during Christmas. If your child is beginning to understand the holiday, this song might bring many questions. Your favorite holiday song can also serve as a lullaby and a great one at that.
If other people have used it and it works, it won’t hurt you to try. Thankfully there are only three rhyming stanzas. The song goes back centuries ago, and it has become a holiday classic every time Christmas is around the corner. Now it’s time to make it a nursery classic in your house.
14. Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Most parents want their babies to get to a place where all their dreams come true, like where this song is talking about. This iconic song from The Wizard of Oz is a great modern lullaby. It describes this fantastic place where there is no more trouble.
The cheerful song doesn’t go at the same slow pace as most lullabies for babies to go to sleep. But you can slow it down when you sing so that the baby doesn’t get too excited and fails to sleep. The message is what counts most here, and it’s worth embracing.
Many people have covered the song; pick your favorite artist and listen to their version. You will discover the wonderful dreamland you want your baby to go to. Lullabies don’t have to be complicated; the best ones are personal and simple.
The best way to make the song personal is by singing. You can add your baby’s name in the lyrics to make it extra special. Calling their name will grab their attention and make them listen to what you are singing. But if you get a song like this that’s simple already, you can sing without making adjustments.
15. Row, Row, Row Your Boat
This is another classic tune that parents croon to their little ones before bedtime or naps. The song only has four lines that you repeat four times. Depending on how you sing it, the song can be a play song or a lullaby song.
If you want the baby to visit dreamland, sing in a low voice or hum instead of saying the words. When you sing in a fun way, the baby would probably not sleep easily. Instead of repeating merrily, you can use other words like ‘if you see a crocodile, don’t forget to scream.’ That’s what most parents use when they don’t want repetition.
However, the additional lyrics are better in a joyful moment than sleeping time. If you dramatize, the song will result in giggles and smiles. The earliest printing of this song is in the 1850s.
They say lullabies prepare the baby for reading skills and even language acquisition. So your singing is not all in vain. When you find a simple song like this, you can sing for the baby as many times as you want.
16. Amazing Grace
You don’t have to be religious to enjoy this lullaby. It’s a song of redemption used for secular and religious purposes. The song is on the verge of becoming a cliché because it has plenty of versions from different productions.
Regardless of all that, it stood the test of time and might still be a great lullaby years from now. It’s a deeply emotional song that can move you to tears or stir feelings deep inside you.
You don’t need to get so much into the lyrics; stick to the first few popular lines and pay attention to how you sing for the child. It’s uplifting, and most parents like the song because you can easily sing and hum. Before you know it, the little one will be fast asleep, and you will be singing to yourself.
17. Baby Mine
Disney does it again with a beautiful piece to soothe your precious one to sleep. The song is from Dumbo, highlighting the unbreakable bond between you and your child. The encouragement the parent gives the baby is also touching.
The lyrics are long, but no one says you have to sing it from the start to the end. Sometimes the baby will drift off before you barely begin singing. The scene where Dumbo’s mother, an elephant, cradles the baby to sleep while singing this soft lullaby is also lovely to see with your little one.
But don’t watch when you are trying to get them to sleep. The movie is a great pass time when you are both fully awake. The tune received a nomination for an academy award as the best original song.
It’s one more unique addition to your lullaby collection. Maybe as they grow, they will start understanding the meaning of the lyrics.
18. All through the night
It will be great if your baby can sleep all through the night without bathroom breaks, nightmares, or any other disturbances. That’s what this song encourages the little one to do. The song sounds like what most parents dream their child’s night-time rest will look like.
Sing the song to your baby and see if, by some miracle, you both sleep all night peacefully. They say you should never put headphones on the kid’s ear, so the best way is always singing. Don’t worry about getting the perfect pitch; your child will enjoy your boding time regardless of the singing voice.
But don’t shout because that will be far from soothing. This song doesn’t need a lot of harmonizing. When you have the words, you are ready to go. The lullaby was originally a Welsh Christmas carol. That’s why it talks a lot about angels watching over the sleeping child.
19. Isn’t She Lovely
This masterpiece will send her right off to sleep if you have a girl. This was a way for Stevie Wonder to celebrate the birth of his daughter in the 1976 album. It even starts with the cry of an actual baby recorded during childbirth.
There are so many praises and compliments for your girl in this song. The song goes for more than six minutes, and there are enough instruments to make it greater. But the instruments can be distracting if you play the song through a device.
For purposes of making the baby sleep, understand the lyrics and sing. You can enjoy it later on a device when you are alone. The joy of becoming a parent, especially for the first time, can be overwhelming.
You can tell from the lyrics that Stevie was beyond excited for the little girl. You can take the opportunity while putting the little girl to sleep to shower her with all the nice words from this song. The singer goes on and on about what God has done and how blessed he feels.
20. Didn’t Leave Nobody but the Baby
You probably know this piece from the film O Brother, Where Art Thou, that Alison Krauss, Gillian Welch, and Emmylou Harrison vocalized.
If you listen to the song keenly, you will see that the lyrics are very mournful. It takes the style of old-fashioned fairy tales.
But as a parent, you will appreciate the ample repetition of a few words. There is no need for using the darker lyrics when you can repeat the words ‘go to sleep, you little baby.’
After singing this song once or twice, you will already be familiar with the lyrics. It can be an everyday song or interchange it with other tunes in your nursery collection.
21. Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)
Parents of a song can sing these lyrics. The lyrics are mean for a dad, but you can swap daddy for mommy if you want to sing your lovely baby to sleep. The song embraces fatherhood; John Lennon wrote it for his son Sean.
The message is mainly comfort and hope as he assures his son things get better every day. Encouraging your son to say a little prayer every day before sleeping may not be a bad thing. The father in this concept can’t wait to see his child grow.
The Beatles have a lot of sentimental songs, but this is probably their best lullaby. The tune is right, and the lyrics are what you want to say to a sleeping child. When your baby finally grows and can soothe himself to sleep, the song can still be a nice dedication.
It’s nice having such songs in your playlist as a parent because you never know when they might come in handy.
Ensure you have more than one lullaby song from this diverse list for your baby. Bedtime routine will be more fun and easy.
As the Head Editor and Writer at Music Grotto, Liam helps write and edit content produced from professional music/media journalists and other contributing writers. He works closely with journalists and other staff to format and publish music content for the Music Grotto website. Liam is also the founding member of Music Grotto and is passionate in disseminating editorial content to its readers.
Liam’s lifelong love for music makes his role at Music Grotto such a rewarding one. He loves researching, writing and editing music content for Music Grotto.