Songs for Bedtime

Songs for Bedtime

Bedtime at last and with any luck it’ll be nice and easy, done and dusted with no dramas. You’ll soon have your feet up with a glass of wine, listening to the sweet sound of snoring on the baby monitor….

In your dreams.

It’s all very well if you’ve mastered the perfect routine with a child who read the manual and signed an agreement to sleep on cue. Sadly it often doesn’t go that way and you can end up on your knees, praying or just begging for the wide-awake one to please close their eyes. Instead they test your patience with requests for another story, demands for a drink or all the other tactics they know will buy them a little more time. What about a lullaby? Will that do the trick? If only you could find that one special song that seems to work its magic every time.

What songs do you sing your little ones at bedtime?

This question popped up in The Motherload® community on Facebook and Hannah added: “Some ideas would be great and lyrics if you can be arsed to write them as I am coming up short.”

She was in luck with hundreds of comments from musical MOLOs all keen to share their chosen tunes. So are you yet to find your song? (Actually, that Elton hit would be perfect *adds to list*) Here is some inspiration. All these songs have been tried and tested by tired parents with apparently not-at-all tired but actually completely over-tired children.

La La La

Let’s start with the classics. You won’t be surprised to hear plenty of kids are happy with a good old playgroup favourite; Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is popular with plenty of MOLOs as a bedtime song. In our house we even seem to get away with no words at all; just the melody sung to a “la la la” somehow sprinkles the sleepy dust.

Another song that was mentioned multiple times was the slightly sinister Rockabye Baby. It’s never really made clear why that flimsy cradle is precariously balanced on top of a tree, rocking in the wind until a branch snaps and sends it plummeting towards the ground. MOLO Rebecca suggested adding a more gentle ending: “But Mama will catch you, cradle and all.” Phew, good save Mama.

Why sing a song in just one language when you can learn it in three? MOLO Louise is Danish and her husband is English so they sing in both languages. Their family song is Frère Jacques so it’s only natural to do it in French as well. Altogether now: “Sunny, Lemon, Tina.”

Making up lyrics is not just a privilege reserved for the kids. MOLO Viki sings the words ‘sleepy time’ to the tune of Cliff Richard’s Mistletoe and Wine. Meanwhile in Lisa’s house they have a pyjama song using Bob Marley’s Jammin’ and a teeth-brushing song based on Let It Go.

You can also add your own verses to well-known songs to make them last just long enough. As Editor of The Motherload®, Alison has a way with words and her bedtime song is Hush Little Baby with a twist. The remix features bonus random gifts including a helter-skelter, a microlight and a yurt.

Let It Go

Lullabies can also be therapeutic according to MOLO Maria who vents all her frustrations in a daily witty ditty: “I didn’t get to shower, I’ve barely got to eat, my hair smells like vom, la la la …” Insert your own lyrics! This probably works best when your children are not old enough to listen too carefully or copy any swearwords you sneak in while smiling tenderly.

You may want to swot up on your old-school musical movies. It’s the perfect excuse to binge-watch a few good old-fashioned family films on a cold, rainy afternoon, snuggled on the sofa with popcorn and hot chocolate. Watching Wizard of Oz, you can pick up Somewhere Over the Rainbow, even better if you have a voice like Eva Cassidy. The original Supernanny has some suggestions too; Mary Poppins can teach you Feed the Birds and that song she sings to Jane and Michael in the nursery when they can’t keep their eyes open. Another option is Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, however don’t let the children get a glimpse of the child-catcher or they’ll never sleep again, just head for Hushabye Mountain.

So there you go, a few suggestions to get you started on that mission to find ‘the one’. Just bear in mind you might have to teach the winning song to anyone who offers to babysit: “There’s the tea and biscuits, there’s the remote control, there’s the lyric sheet.”

Thank you and Goodnight.

Jill Misson

Broadcaster, writer and mum of two girls.

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