10 Lullabies that Won’t Give Parents Nightmares

10 Lullabies that Won't Give Parents NightmaresBedtime and lullabies go together like PB&J. And while Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star works, after a year of bedtimes, you won’t care about the stars, the twinkle, and may even have some resentment against NASA itself. 

So who says you have to stick to the traditional songs? Why not mix it up with Motown or croon like Sinatra? I’m a big fan of non-lullaby lullabies for the sake of parental sanity and fonder memories later. Any song that has personal meaning is great. My husband sings Jimmy Buffet’s “Hula Girl” to my daughter. Not my favorite song in general, but when he’s quietly sing-speaking it to her, it gains a rosy glow. And more importantly, it works. 

So here are the criteria: 

  1. Songs have to be singable. Sure, you’re Celine Dion in 1998 in the shower but the fist to chest action isn’t very soothing. We know that not all parents are songbirds so something that you feel comfortable singing is key. 
  2. Songs must have a positive message. There are a lot of great songs out there that I don’t want to sing to my infant daughter. I try to keep the heartbreak, blatant drug use, and violence out of my selections and focus more on the enduring nature of parental love. 

So here you go: 

  1. My top pick is a song from the 30s called Goodnight, My Love. Sung by Ella Fitzgerald to a backdrop of Benny Goodman, it’s easy to sing and the second verse is actually a lullaby. 

Goodnight my love, your mommy is kneeling beside you
Goodnight my love, to dreamland the sandman will guide you
Come now you sleepyhead, close your eyes, and go to bed
My precious sleepyhead, you mustn’t play peek-a-boo
Goodnight my love, your little Dutch dolly is yawning
Goodnight my love, your teddy bear called it a day
Your doggy’s fast asleep, my but he’s smart
Sleep tight, my love, goodnight my love

2. Can’t Take My Eyes Off You by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. This one is great because there are multiple versions. Frankie Valli performs the original but Lauren Hill did the most recent version that many recognize. I mean who doesn’t want to throw in some “what, what” and “conspiracy theory wise” in at bedtime? The lyrics back up the lullaby-ability. 

You’re just too good to be true
I can’t take my eyes off you
You’d be like heaven to touch
I wanna hold you so much
At long last love has arrived
And I thank God I’m alive
You’re just too good to be true
Can’t take my eyes off you

Not gonna lie, I cried while singing this to my daughter when I first brought her home. It’s a good one. 

3. You’ve Got a Friend by Carole King. I know that the Gilmore Girls fans might put Where You Lead on this list but for me, the message of parenthood doesn’t get much better than this: 

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running, to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there
You’ve got a friend
Bonus: Carole King is very singable, even for the most can’t-carry-a-tune-in-a-bucket set. 

4. Nothing Else Matters by Metallica. Hear me out. There are some dads out there that want to work from their own wheelhouse and this love song translates surprisingly well to parenting. And everyone can sing this. Just try to keep the Hetfield growl to a minimum. Air guitar is encouraged. 

So close, no matter how far
Couldn’t be much more from the heart
Forever trusting who we are
And nothing else matters

5. Your Song By Elton John. Every parent has felt that sense of wonder when looking at their child in those early days, especially when they are sleeping. Sir Elton says it best. 

And you can tell everybody this is your song
It may be quite simple but now that it’s done
I hope you don’t mind
I hope you don’t mind
That I put down in words
How wonderful life is while you’re in the world

6. Blackbird by The Beatles. This song stays more in traditional lullaby territory. The message is great–regenerate and grasp your opportunities–but it’s also kid friendly. I mean, animals. Amirite? 

7. Three Little Birds by Bob Marley. Don’t worry about a thing. That’s what we tell our kids all day, so why stop at night? Bonus: reggae rhythms are great for bouncing fussy babies with the strong bass line. Start singing Marley and everything really will be alright. 

8. Love is Like a Butterfly by Dolly Parton. You can’t beat vintage Dolly. This is a delicate little tune and like so many kid friendly tunes, involves animals. Later on, this could be a great song to put hand motions to and sing together. 

9. Stand by Me by Ben E. King. This one almost goes without saying. Ben E. King’s song is a promise of protection and love. This one takes a little more vocal legwork but for those that like to sing, it’s worth it. 

10. Make You Feel My Love by Adele. Yes, I put an Adele song on this list. Fear not! This is actually very singable for the non-divas among us. The lyrics are a promise of faithfulness and the melody is soothing and slow. Perfect for dropping your little one off at dreamland.

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One Response to 10 Lullabies that Won’t Give Parents Nightmares

  1. Canaan February 6, 2017 at 9:21 pm #

    Let’s not forget my kid’s favorite….Louis Armstrong’s “Wonderful World.”