The 13 Best Bedtime Songs for Kids

Looking for a sweet lullaby for your little one? We rounded up the best bedtime songs for sleepy kids and parents. Give them a try when words fail you.

mom singing lullaby
Photo: Africa Studio/Shutterstock

There's more than one reason that parents and caregivers have been singing to babies since the dawn of time. Even before research confirmed the many benefits of singing to babies, parents have been singing their babies to sleep.

Singing is more than just a sweet way to connect with your baby (though that is reason enough to break out in song, in our opinion). Babies are hard-wired to process music differently from speech from birth, and research shows that singing to babies can help them calm their bodies, regulate their emotions, and stimulate language development. Lullabies, in particular, have universal elements that relax babies—even when they are unfamiliar with the words or melody.

So the next time you find yourself helping your baby settle in for sleep, give one of these classic or modern bedtime songs a try.

01 of 13

"Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" (Based on the Poem by Jane Taylor)

Based on a 19th-century poem, this song has the same melody as "The Alphabet Song."

"Twinkle, twinkle, little star, How I wonder what you are! Up above the world so high, Like a diamond in the sky!"

02 of 13

"You Are My Sunshine" (Various Artists)

A beloved lullaby and a hit song for musicians like Ray Charles and Bing Crosby, this melancholy tune has a memorably sentimental chorus:

"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy, when skies are gray."

03 of 13

"Rolling in the Deep" by Adele

Adele's ballads make for surprisingly great sing-along songs. Croon it yourself, or play the baby-fied version from Modern Lullabies: Pop Songs for Babies.

04 of 13

"A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes" From Disney's Cinderella

Many parents use Disney movie ballads as bedtime songs, and this one is no exception. Most recently sung on the silver screen by actress Lily James in the live-action remake of the 1950 Disney classic, "A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes" makes for a lovely lullaby.

05 of 13

"Frère Jacques" (French Nursery Rhyme)

With lyrics in both English and French, this short, classic lullaby gets right to the point: Are you sleeping? Sing it until the answer is finally yes.

In French:

"Frère Jacques, Frère Jacques,

Dormez-vous? Dormez-vous?

Sonnez les matines, sonnez les matines

Ding ding dong, ding ding dong."

In English:

"Are you sleeping, are you sleeping?

Brother John, Brother John?

Morning bells are ringing, morning bells are ringing

Ding ding dong, ding ding dong."

06 of 13

"Hush Little Baby" (American Folk Song)

This charming cause-and-effect song about a parent trying to calm their baby with gifts is full of silly accidents and sweet intentions:

"Hush, little baby, don't say a word,

[Mama's/Papa's] gonna buy you a mockingbird.

And if that mockingbird won't sing,

[Mama's/Papa's] gonna buy you a diamond ring."

It's also a great song for improvisation. A few lines in, you'll probably need to make up some rhymes of your own!

07 of 13

"All of Me" by John Legend

Sure, John Legend's chart-topper was originally written for wife Chrissy Teigen. But the star has reportedly sung it to their daughter, Luna, and the love song works just as well as a lullaby.

"Cause all of me

Loves all of you

Love your curves and all your edges

All your perfect imperfections"

08 of 13

"The Alphabet Song"

Talk about mixing learning and fun! "The Alphabet Song," sung to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," is short and easy to remember.



Q-R-S-T-U-V-W-X-Y and Z.

Now I know my A-B-Cs,

Next time won't you sing with me."

09 of 13

"Beautiful Boy" by John Lennon

Written for his son, Sean, John Lennon's sweet song is a comforting ode to the love between parent and child. Sing or play it to soothe a crying baby—or your own new-parent nerves.

"Close your eyes

Have no fear

The monster's gone

He's on the run and your daddy's here

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful

Beautiful boy

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful

Beautiful boy"

10 of 13

"Upside Down" by Jack Johnson

Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies for the film Curious George, Jack Johnson's album of songs from the 2006 film, is jam-packed with soothing tunes that are fun for parents and babies alike. Stream the whole set, or learn the lyrics to "Upside Down," the catchiest of the bunch.

"Upside down

Who's to say what's impossible and can't be found?

I don't want this feeling to go away"

11 of 13

"My Love, My Life" by ABBA

ABBA's ballad may not have been one of the Swedish band's greatest hits, but the tear-jerker stole the show in the 2018 hit movie "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again." Sung by the two main characters and a back-from-the-dead Meryl Streep, this ode to their children is as sweet as it is catchy.

"Like an image passing by, my love, my life

In the mirror of your eyes, my love, my life"

12 of 13

"Isn't She Lovely" by Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder's hit song, celebrating the birth of his first daughter, is the perfect melody for awe-struck parents. The sweet lyrics echo Wonder's thoughts as he watched his girl sleep:

"Isn't she lovely

Isn't she wonderful"

13 of 13

"Wiegenlied (Brahms' Lullaby)" by Johannes Brahms

First performed in 1868, "Wiegenlied," known as Brahms' Lullaby, remains a classic bedtime song for babies. Stream the orchestral version, or sing or hum it for yourself.

"Lullaby, and goodnight, go to sleep little baby…"

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  1. Infants relax in response to unfamiliar foreign lullabies. Nature Human Behavior. 2021.

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