Singing to your baby is one of the most important things you can do for them. Yes, seeing to their physical needs is critical, but children need much more than a full belly and a clean diaper.
Caregivers who sing to their baby are promoting bonding, cognitive development, and providing a foundation for a lifetime of successful learning. Wondering what songs to sing to your baby? We’ll share our favorites to give you something to start with.
How Singing To Your Baby Helps Them Thrive
When you sing to your baby, you are stimulating multiple areas of their brain, teaching them about speech, words, and language. You are also showing how much you love them, setting them up for a lifetime of learning, and more.
Benefits of Singing to Babies
How does singing songs to your baby benefit them?
Let’s take a look at what your child will learn when you sing to them.
- Bonding: When you sing to your baby, you instinctively make eye contact and smile, and you may be cuddling at the time, too. This strengthens the emotional bond between you and your child.
- The groundwork for language: Singing to your baby prepares their brain for more sophisticated language (1). The sound of your voice and the rhythms of the words — they stimulate the language centers of the brain.
- Reading readiness: While you are promoting basic language development, you are also developing a foundation for learning to read (2).
- Listening skills: Listening and processing what we hear is a skill we must develop just like any other. When you sing to your baby, they are learning to listen and pay attention to what is going on around them.
- Emotional interaction basics: Sing to your baby and they will smile. Then you smile in return. This is an important lesson in cause and effect, and it teaches your baby about how their own actions influence others.
- They are part of a wider family: Singing is an excellent way to include siblings, other family members, and friends in your baby’s experiences. This will show your baby they are loved by many other people and are part of a wider community (3).
- Gross motor skills: By singing to your baby and encouraging them to move their body, you are helping them develop gross motor skills.
- Foundational skills for wider learning: Some studies have shown an increase in IQ scores, improved cognitive function, and higher standardized test scores for children who take part in casual or structured musical activities (4).
If you want to sing to your little one, but don’t know where to start, we have put together a list of 50 songs to sing to your baby, along with videos and links to the lyrics if you need a cheat sheet.
Bedtime Songs to Sing to Your Baby
Lullabies are often the first songs parents sing to their babies. And your babies will still love hearing these same songs when they are toddlers.
Here are our top ten.
German Cradle Song
A short but sweet example of a traditional German lullaby, the German Cradle Song is both quick and simple to learn — even if you are not naturally musical. This makes it an excellent first song if you are not used to singing to your baby, or you do not know any other basic lullabies.
Hush, my babe, and do not cry,
In your cradle now you swing,
A classic song from Breakfast At Tiffany’s, Moon River has a soft and gentle melody and easy-to-learn lyrics. There are no loud or high sections to tax your singing abilities or lack of them, and the soothing quality of the tune is perfect for singing your baby off to sleep.
Moon river, wider than a mile
I’m crossing you in style someday
Oh, dream maker
Wherever you’re going, I’m going your way
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
There can’t be many of us who haven’t at least heard Twinkle Twinkle Little Star at some point in our lives. The advantage of this song is that most people your baby will come into contact with will be able to sing this to them. And numerous baby toys play this tune, making it a comforting, familiar song.
Twinkle twinkle little star,
How I wonder what you are
You won’t find this one on other lists about songs to sing to your baby, but Tender by English band, Blur, is great for singing while you rock your baby in your arms. I spent many nights in a rocking chair singing this to one of my own sons, and it is a song he still adores.
Tender is the night
Lying by your side
Tender is the touch
Of someone that you love too much
Somewhere Over The Rainbow
Famous as a song Judy Garland sang in The Wizard Of Oz, this Academy Award-winning ballad is wonderful for helping your little one drift off to the land of nod. This version by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole ties with the Eva Cassidy and Ariana Grande covers as excellent examples to sing along to.
Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high
And the dreams that you dreamed of
Once in a lullaby
Bedtime songs to sing to your baby often have the word lullaby in the title. So Lullaby, by the Dixie Chicks, is a natural fit. The song can be found on their five-time Grammy Award-winning album Taking the Long Way, but you don’t have to be a Grammy Award-winning singer to share it with your little one.
They didn’t have you where I come from
Never knew the best was yet to come
Life began when I saw your face
And I hear your laugh like a serenade
The lyrics may start with Baby mine, don’t you cry, but it is easy to end up in tears listening to this classic from the Disney movie, Dumbo. My advice would be to watch the video multiple times to build up resilience. Start when you’re pregnant, and you might be able to get to the end without crying by the time your baby is born.
Baby mine, don’t you cry
Baby mine, dry your eyes
Rest your head close to my heart
Never to part, baby of mine
I Don’t Want To Live On The Moon
Many of us have childhood memories tied to songs from Sesame Street. This classic from the 1990s was first sung by Ernie and was later performed as a duet with Ernie and Aaron Neville. I chose the second version to share with you because Neville’s amazing vocal mastery and the use of Jim Henson’s Ernie voice are beautiful together.
Well I’d like to visit the moon
On a rocket ship high in the air
Yes, I’d like to visit the moon
But I don’t think I’d like to live there
Rock A Bye Baby
There is much debate over the origin and meaning of Rock A Bye Baby. The only thing certain is that the earliest known version recorded in print dates back to 1765. Whatever its true origin and meaning, this has become a classic nursery rhyme, recognized the world over as a song to sing to your baby.
Rock a bye baby on the tree top,
When the wind blows the cradle will rock,
All Of Me
John Legend may not be the first person who comes to mind when you’re thinking of bedtime songs to sing to your baby. However, this slow-moving ballad that Legend wrote for Chrissy Tiegan before they were married is an excellent choice if the more traditional fare on this list doesn’t work for you.
‘Cause all of me
Loves all of you
Love your curves and all your edges
All your perfect imperfections
Silly Songs to Sing to Your Baby
If you are singing to your baby as you play during the day, silly songs may be what you need. Many of these have the added advantage of having hand gestures or other actions you can teach your child.
Itsy Bitsy Spider
Itsy Bitsy Spider, also known as Incy Wincy Spider, depending on where you or your parents grew up, made its first appearance in 1920. However, it was not a children’s nursery rhyme. Instead, it was a campfire song for adults and was rather more sweary than you would want to share with your baby!
Itsy Bitsy Spider climbed up the spout,
Down came the rain and washed the spider out
If you’re feeling adventurous, you could try learning Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious from the 1964 Disney classic, Mary Poppins.
Babies especially enjoy silly facial expressions and noises, and both are easy to incorporate into a performance of this song. So, play the video, crank up the sound, limber up your lips and tongue, and get practicing.
Even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious
If you say it loud enough, you’ll always sound precocious:
I’m A Little Teapot
The beauty of I’m A Little Teapot is that the song is accompanied by a series of actions which are easy for caregiver and child to perform, even if they are sitting down.
This makes it a fun song to share with little ones who are not yet on their feet.
I’m a little teapot, short and stout,
Here’s my handle and here’s my spout.
Hickory Dickory Dock
A classic nursery rhyme, Hickory Dickory Dock is a simple song to sing to your baby that can be extended to multiple verses. You can add another animal and change the time that the clock strikes. This is also a good way to introduce numbers to the song.
Hickory Dickory Dock,
The mouse ran up the clock
Head, Shoulders, Knees, And Toes
A fabulous “get up and get active” song to share with your baby, Head, Shoulders, Knees, And Toes is not only fun to sing, but it helps to teach your baby the names of body parts. When you are singing, take your baby’s hand and use it to point to the corresponding parts on their own body.
Head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes
Head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes
Do Your Ears Hang Low?
Another silly song with the actions to go with it, Do Your Ears Hang Low? offers an excellent opportunity for you to share song time with your baby and an older sibling. There are also several, less well-known verses to this traditional song, and it is easy to make up some actions to go with these additional lines.
Do your ears hang low?
Do they wobble to and fro?
This song from Moana is made for singing to your baby. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson sings it every night as part of his daughter’s bedtime routine.
And the best bit? His daughter, Tia, has no idea that it is her daddy singing the song in the movie. How cute is that?
Okay, okay, I see what’s happening here
You’re face-to-face with greatness and it’s strange
The Lion Sleeps Tonight
If you can overlook the fact that you don’t find lions in the jungle, whether asleep or otherwise, then throw yourself into The Lion Sleeps Tonight. Sometimes known as The A-weema-weh song, this modern classic of childhood is ever popular among those of us who cannot hold a tune.
In the jungle, the quiet jungle
The lion sleeps tonight
Be Our Guest
Your baby may not understand the meaning of the words to Be Our Guest yet, but they will enjoy the song, especially if you use funny voices as you sing. This song lends itself to overdramatic emphasis on certain words, which is a significant element in the development of language skills.
Be our guest! Be our guest!
Put our service to the test
Tie your napkin ’round your neck, cherie
And we’ll provide the rest
A musical expression of pure joy, sing this silly song to your baby. When they are still little, make their stuffed toys dance while you sing. As your child grows older, they’ll learn the lyrics themselves and the rhyme to “downhearted” will have them rolling on the floor giggling.
Hakuna matata! What a wonderful phrase!
Hakuna matata! Ain’t no passing craze!
It means no worries, for the rest of your days…
It’s our problem-free philosophy…
Easy Songs to Sing to Your Baby
If you are not at all musical, easy songs to sing to your baby are a good starting point.
The ABC Song
The A,B,C song is a classic. While it is obviously a good song for teaching the alphabet, it is also great for singing to your baby, way before they ever need to understand the concept of letters. Mix it up a little by singing to your baby in different voices and making exaggerated facial expressions.
A, B, C D,
E ,F, G …
Five Little Monkeys
Babies enjoy repetition. It allows them to learn about anticipation and experience the pleasure of working out what comes next. This is why Five Little Monkeys is such a good song to sing to your baby.
The repetitive lyrics, along with the natural inclination to make a comedic angry face while singing the last line of each verse, is bound to make this one of your baby’s favorites.
Five little monkeys jumping on the bed,
One fell off and bumped their head.
You can skip the beginning of this song if you like, the bit that goes, “Let’s start from the very beginning, it’s a very good place to start” and launch directly into the “Doe, a deer” section. The long notes at the end of the lines are what make this one fun to sing to your baby.
Doe, a deer, a female deer,
Ray, a drop of golden sun,
Hot and Cold
If you explore the lyrics of many popular and traditional songs, you’ll soon discover that many of them are silly or nonsensical. This makes them wonderful for singing to babies because the words themselves are not that important at first. Instead, it is all about the rhythm, the rhyme, and the connection you make when you make eye contact.
You wanna play, so I wore dress up clothes
Then you ran away, left me here in this pose
How am I supposed to play with you?
Another excellent choice if you have older children, sing Happy to your baby, and have their siblings join in the fun. This is an especially good choice if you are having a bit of a bad day. It’s difficult not to feel upbeat when you are singing this song.
It might seem crazy what I’m ’bout to say
Sunshine she’s here, you can take a break
I’m a hot air balloon that could go to space
With the air, like I don’t care, baby, by the way
Purple People Eater
Purple People Eater is a simple, repetitive song that lends itself well to singing to your little one. With fewer than 20 words, it is pretty much the same line over and over again, and babies love that. If you have a purple shirt or pajamas, you can wear them while singing this and pointing to the color as you say purple.
It was a one-horned, one-eyed, flying purple people eater
One-horned, one-eyed, flying purple people eater
If You’re Happy And You Know It
This is another song that is great for taking hold of your little one’s hands and teaching them how to clap. The song offers an excellent way of developing gross motor skills, rhythm, and a myriad of other brain-boosting skills while you play together.
And if this song gets too boring for you, Google Little Richard’s Disney version.
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands,
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands,
I Can’t Help Myself
You might know this song as “Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch” but whichever title you choose, this is a fun, uplifting classic that is made for singing to your baby.
It’s pure, inoffensive, easy to sing, and exactly the type of song you can begin singing to your baby. Have them join in when they are old enough, and enjoy watching them sing it to their own little ones someday.
Sugar pie, honey bunch
You know that I love you
I can’t help myself
I love you and nobody else
Row Row Row Your Boat
Much of the appeal of this song is that it is easy to take hold of your baby’s hands and rock them back and forth in a rowing type motion as you sing. Not only will your baby look forward to you singing this to them, they are also likely to get excited at the thought of “rowing” with you.
Row row row your boat
Gently down the stream
Merrily merrily merrily merrily
Life is but a dream
No list of silly songs to sing to your baby would be complete these days without Baby Shark. Love it or hate it, and I have to admit I’m in the second camp here, Baby Shark is a song your child is going to listen to and sing at some point in the next few years. So, you might as well get on board!
Baby shark, doo doo doo doo doo doo
Baby shark, doo doo doo doo doo doo
Baby shark, doo doo doo doo doo doo
Sweet Songs to Sing to Your Baby
You’ll love having sweet songs to sing to your baby as you snuggle up to them and think about how much they have changed your life. Many of the songs we have already suggested could fit just as well on this list.
Hush Little Baby
Let’s start out with a classic song for babies, Hush Little Baby. It’s made up of a simple series of rhyming couplets where a parent buys a gift for their baby and the gift turns out to have a fault of some kind.
The basic structure of the song means you can make up your own verses to suit your family’s culture or history.
Hush, little baby, don’t say a word,
Mama’s gonna buy you a mockingbird.
You Are My Sunshine
Thought by many to be a children’s song from the start, You Are My Sunshine was first recorded in 1939. It has since become one of the most covered songs of all time and almost everyone knows the tune and the lyrics.
By singing this song to your baby, you will be teaching them a song they will be singing with family and at school for many years to come.
You are my sunshine,
My only sunshine,
You make me happy,
When skies are grey
Recorded by Elton John in 1970, this isn’t the most obvious of songs to sing to your baby. However, the beautiful, touching lyrics and the easy to maintain melody combine to make this a natural fit for this list. It’s difficult not to sway to the tune while you serenade your little one.
It’s a little bit funny, this feeling inside
I’m not one of those who can easily hide
This song, about a small white flower native to Austria, was written for the 1959 musical, The Sound Of Music. This comes as a surprise to many people who assume it is an old European folk song.
The slow, simple melody feels like it is written specifically for rocking your baby to sleep.
Every morning you greet me
Small and white, clean and bright
You look happy to meet me
Goodnite, Sweetheart, Goodnite
There is something about songs from the 1950s and 1960s that make them excellent choices as songs to sing to your baby. This classic from The Spaniels is no exception.
A touching song to sing while you rock your baby to sleep, this has the potential to become a lifelong favorite.
Goodnight, sweetheart, well, it’s time to go
Goodnight, sweetheart, well, it’s time to go
Five Little Ducks
Babies love this repetitive little song about a sad mother duck whose ducklings disappear one by one, only for them all to come back at the end of the last verse. Simplicity itself, the song you know may have slightly different words — the version I grew up with had the five little ducks “swimming one day.”
Five little ducks went out one day,
Over the hill and far away,
Mother duck said quack quack quack quack,
But only four little ducks came back.
Sweet Baby James
Unlike most of the other songs on this list, Sweet Baby James was actually written for a baby. James Taylor tells the story of how he wrote the music and lyrics as he drove across the country on his way to meet his brother’s newborn son, James, for the first time.
There is a young cowboy he lives on the range
His horse and his cattle are his only companions
He works in the saddle and he sleeps in the canyons
Waiting for summer, his pastures to change
There is no shortage of songs for mothers to sing to their children, but the number of songs from daddy’s point of view is significantly smaller. So, it is for this reason that Beautiful Boy, written by John Lennon for his son, Sean, is a welcome addition to this list.
Close your eyes
Have no fear
The monster’s gone, he’s on the run
And your daddy’s here
Here Comes the Sun
Penned by George Harrison and released on The Beatles’ Abbey Road album, Here Comes the Sun is a sweet yet uplifting song. Harrison wrote the song while wandering around Eric Clapton’s garden, strumming his guitar and trying out lyrics. He should have been at a meeting with his record company but, because it was a beautiful day, he played hooky, a sentiment we can all appreciate.
Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here
Not only is this a sweet song to sing to your baby, it also has a guest performance from Beyonce’s daughter, Blue, who is also the youngest person to feature on a Billboard chart. Blue made her debut not on this song but on her father, Jay- Z’s record, Glory, that was recorded when she was only a few days old.
Sometimes these walls seem to cave in on me
When I look in your eyes, I feel alive
Some days we say words that don’t mean a thing
But when you holding me tight, I feel alive
Disney Songs to Sing to Your Baby
Finally, we have our favorite ten Disney songs to sing to your baby.
Disney is a hit with babies and parents everywhere.
Kiss The Girl
It may not be the first Disney song you’d think about singing to your baby, but this fun tune from The Little Mermaid has a lot going for it. Not only does it have a gentle, somewhat soothing melody, but it has sections where you only need to sing “Sha la la la la la.”
There you see her
Sitting there across the way
She don’t got a lot to say
But there’s something about her
Colors Of The Wind
Colors Of The Wind from the movie, Pocahontas, won an Academy Award, a Grammy, and a Golden Globe, and was inspired by a famous letter written by Chief Seattle.
The song lacks the humor of other Disney songs, and that is what makes its lyrics so powerful. Listen carefully and you’ll hear words that touch on racism, prejudice, and animism. Plus, it has a beautiful melody your child will enjoy.
You think I’m an ignorant savage
And you’ve been so many places
I guess it must be so
But still I cannot see
If the savage one is me
How can there be so much that you don’t know?
You don’t know…
The Bare Necessities
Baloo sings The Bare Necessities to Mowgli in The Jungle Book. The song shares Baloo’s philosophy that you shouldn’t worry about all the complexities of life, but instead you should focus on what you need — the bare necessities.
This song is a fun one to sing to your baby, while you dance around the house.
Look for the bare necessities
The simple bare necessities
Forget about your worries and your strife
You Can’t Stop The Girl
You may not have the vocal power of Bebe Rexha, but that shouldn’t stop you from singing this to your baby, especially if you have a baby girl.
Often described as an anthem of female empowerment and resilience, this is also a song that can lift you up on a day when you may feel down.
Oh, they’re tryna shoot down angels
They’re tryna pull their wings off
Under the Sea
It’s back to The Little Mermaid with Under The Sea, a fabulously fun, upbeat song that your older kids will also enjoy singing to your baby.
A firm favorite in our home for many years, this has been the theme tune to many a road trip, as well as being sung at home, accompanied by a range of ocean-themed toys.
The seaweed is always greener
In somebody else’s lake
You dream about going up there
But that is a big mistake
He Mele No Lilo
Our youngest daughter’s favorite Disney movie is Lilo and Stitch, so this song was always going to make it onto the list somewhere.
If you are not a fluent speaker of Hawaiian, don’t be put off. It took us a while, and we probably butcher pronunciation at some points, but our kids and I adore singing this together.
Mahalo nui iā
Ke ali’i wahine
O ka Wohi ku
Un Poco Loco
If you’ve never seen Pixar’s Coco, you’re missing a treat, and Un Poco Loco is just one of many great musical numbers. This song is so much fun that both you and your child are bound to enjoy it.
That the sky is not blue
Oh, my love; ay, my love
That is red you say
Ay, my love; ay, my love
Some Things Never Change
It would have been easy to flesh out this list of Disney songs to sing to your baby with the most popular choices such as Frozen’s Let It Go. However, I think Some Things Never Change from Frozen 2 is just as good, maybe even a better option to sing to your little one.
Yes, the wind blows a little bit colder
And we’re all getting older
And the clouds are moving on with every autumn breeze
Peter Pumpkin just became fertilizer
Mulan sings this song, in the movie of the same name, to express how she wants to show the world her true self, but is afraid to do so. She fears she might disappoint or embarrass her parents.
When a teenage Christina Aguilera recorded her first song, it was a cover of Reflection she chose to perform, and the success of this single funded the recording of her debut album.
Look at me
You may think you see
Who I really am
But you’ll never know me
Spirit was sung by Beyonce in the 2019 live-action remake of The Lion King. The lyrics at the opening of this powerful ballad are sung in Swahili, by a pair of male vocalists, and Beyonce is outstanding throughout the track. While you may not be Beyonce, you’ll have fun singing this one anyway.
Yeah, yeah, and the wind is talkin’
Yeah, yeah, for the very first time
With a melody that pulls you towards it
Paintin’ pictures of paradise
Singing To Your Baby
Don’t think of this list of 50 diverse songs to sing to your baby as the end of your musical search.
It should only be your starting point.
Whatever songs you chose to share with your little one, by singing to them you are building bonds and laying foundations for success.
What could possibly be better than that?