By Alison Lee
Lullabies have been around for as long as the world exists. Even though the term lullaby appeared only in 1560, the concept of a cradle song had been known to humankind long before that.
Researchers believe that lullabies speak a universal language and serve the same purpose regardless of the culture. Their goal is to aid the infants to fall asleep and teach a child self-soothing skills. That’s why so many people associate calming and relaxing music with sleep even when they grow up.
Thankfully, in today’s age of technology, you can introduce your child to various cradle songs, both with lyrics or just based on the beautiful music. And we would like to share with you a few lullaby ideas for your playlist.
Here are our top eight picks.
1. “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”
Let’s start with the classic lullaby that has been passed from generation to generation. Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star is a cradle song based on the 19th-century poem by Jane Taylor. The poem is a part of Taylor’s collection of nursery rhymes she wrote for her sister Ann.
There are many versions of this lullaby since it has long become a public domain. But back in the day, several composers, including Mozart, made an adaptation of this song’s melody, which has later evolved into what this lullaby is now – one of the legendary cradle songs that should be in a playlist for your child.
2. “Rock-a-Bye Baby”
This classic lullaby belongs to English folklore. It is believed to be the first rhyme created when British colonists came to America, so the supposed date of its origin is around the 17th century.
Later this lullaby appeared in the publication of the famous Mother Goose’s Melody in the middle of the 18th century. Since then, it has been reprinted several times until our days.
Rock-a-Bye Baby is a perfect cradle song to teach your child self-soothing skills. The lyrics directly imply how the child should feel when falling asleep and indicate that a mother is always protecting her kid. These words create a feeling of safety, helping a child calm down.
3. “Star Light, Star Bright”
One more classic English folklore nursery rhyme is Star Light, Star Bright, which was first recorded in America back in the 19th century. The idea of the song is about an ancient belief that a shooting star can make your dreams come true.
The song lyrics put you in a dreamy mood and make you instantly think about your wishes becoming real. You can turn this song into a pre-sleep activity and show your child a set of flashcards, which you can discover here, with different images to create bedtime stories. Such an approach will also help develop your child’s imagination.
Also, you can use this song to inspire your child to close their eyes and imagine something they are dreaming about. As a result, they will have an easier time falling asleep.
4. “All the Pretty Little Horses”
Another nursery rhyme from folklore on our list is All the Pretty Little Horses. This is a traditional lullaby in the United States, supposedly of African-American origin.
The concept of the song is to persuade a child to fall asleep. In reward for obedience, a child will get “all the pretty little horses” after waking up.
With time, this cradle song got many adaptations and additional verses. It also inspired literary works, such as Cormac McCarthy’s novel of the same name. This melody has a rightful place in the most popular lullabies list since it traveled through several generations.
5. Chopin’s Nocturnes
Let’s switch our focus from folklore nursery songs and talk about classic music pieces as lullabies. There are plenty of composers who have calming and soothing music pieces for falling asleep faster, and Chopin is one of them.
Frédéric Chopin is famous for his nocturnes, which are short compositions of a dreamy character. Because of its nature, a nocturne is a perfect music to be played at night – it’s leisurely, rhythmical, and has a relaxing pace.
If you want to introduce your child to Chopin’s music as lullabies, we recommend starting with his Op.9 No.2 Nocturne that is a timeless classic and fully corresponds to what a cradle song music should be.
6. Mozart’s Music
Another composer worthy of your attention when it comes to lullabies is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, in particular his Wiegenlied (lullaby in German). This is a classic lullaby music that has been adapted in many languages and cultures, but originally it comes with no lyrics.
Mozart’s music, in general, supposedly benefits a child’s cerebral development. Called the Mozart Effect, this phenomenon has been found to improve the children’s ability to focus. Besides, Mozart’s timeless music, like the sonata for two pianos, has proven to have calming effects on children.
7. “Sleep Tight Baby Bright” by Kimberley Locke
Now, let’s talk about more modern lullabies that you can include in your playlist to create a perfect bedroom atmosphere for your child. One of the singers who write lullabies is Kimberley Locke, a former American Idol participant.
In particular, her song Sleep Tight, Baby Bright has the perfect lullaby-style melody. It has simple lyrics, with phrases that repeat throughout the song, just like in a traditional lullaby. This song is one of the singles from her upcoming lullaby album, which is a perfect choice for your playlist as well.
8. “Goodnight, My Angel” by Billy Joel
The “Piano Man” himself, Billy Joel, also has a cradle song for your collection. Lullabye, also known as Goodnight, My Angel, is Billy Joel’s classic song he wrote to his daughter Alexa Ray Joel and is a part of his album River of Dreams.
The song is about a father promising his child to always be around and saying that nothing will ruin their love, which will live forever as a lullaby. The lyrics also partly resemble Star Light, Star Bright, inspiring a child to close its eyes and imagine its cherished dreams. The music of this song is very relaxing. Billy Joel’s calming voice makes it a perfect addition to a lullaby playlist.
Without a doubt, lullabies travel through generations and speak a universal language. They teach your child self-soothing skills and help them relax and unwind to have a better sleep quality.
But, as you can see, you don’t have to limit your lullaby playlist only to traditional cradle songs like Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, or Star Light, Star Bright. You can always create a separate playlist with Chopin’s or Mozart’s pieces. They have also proven to have a positive effect on a child’s brain development.
And, of course, you can always include some newer lullabies. Kimberley Locke has an entire album of lullabies you can play to your child every night before sleep. Certainly, Billy Joel’s Lullabye can be in your lullaby playlist as well.
Author bio: Alison Lee is a professional content writer and editor. Her preferred subject areas are childcare and psychology. Alison is also a young mom passionate about educating herself and others on how to improve the quality of a child’s sleep.