So raise your hand if you find snuggling in to rock your baby (or toddler) to sleep at the end of the day one of the sweetest times of parenting. *raises hand* It’s well known that a bedtime song or two (or three…) can be a wonderful part of a bedtime routine. But what if you just can’t stand the thought of one more rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star? Here are the 12 best non-traditional bedtime songs.
Traditional Bedtime Tunes Were Not for Me
Here’s the problem. I know many parents (hello! Yes, meeeee toooooo!) find the traditional bedtime tunes inane and mind numbing. When my daughter was born, I went on strike. Bedtime lullaby strike that is. No Rock a Bye Baby, no Twinkle Twinkle for us. I found songs that I loved to sing. Songs that spoke to me in some way or just kept my mind entertained.
So from her first days, she’s only known “mama’s favorite” bedtime tunes. The ones that have persisted have become such a loved part of our routine that she now asks for them by name. And she looks forward to mama singing (no small thing if you’ve ever heard my singing voice) each night.
If you’re like me and don’t feel traditional bedtime tunes, or if you’re simply looking to go in a new more modern lullaby singing direction, I have the solution to your nighttime crooning woes. I’m happy to say there is NO REASON that you too can’t mix it up a little bit and sing something non-traditional that speaks to YOU.
Non-Traditional Bedtime Songs are More Fun!
Maybe it was a song your mama sang to you -Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit anyone? (Yeah, my mom took a somewhat sardonic tact on motherhood!) Or a song that has a message you want to convey to your little one. It could hold meaning from a time during your pregnancy or from even before your little babe was a twinkle in your eye. Maybe it’s a hard rock song you love the lyrics to and decide to make your own, acoustic style. Get creative! And have fun.
(Don’t worry if you can’t carry a tune, I assure you, the sweetest sound to your little one’s ears is the sound of your voice. So sing away!)
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Non-Traditional Bedtime Song 1: Baby Mine
This is a lovely song that conveys a beautiful message about unconditional love.
Non-Traditional Bedtime Song 2: Don’t Leave Nobody But the Baby
This song is one of my daughter’s favorites. The repetition and tune is very soothing. But there is just enough variety and edge to keep it interesting.
Non-Traditional Bedtime Song 3: You Are My Sunshine
Most people are familiar with the happy sounding chorus to You Are My Sunshine. But if you’ve ever gone on to listen to the full lyrics you will soon realize this is a mournful song about love and loss. This particular rendition is haunting and plaintive, perfect for those of you who are looking to inject a bit of soulfulness into your night night routine. Bonus points for the appearance by Morgan’s husband Chris (Stapleton -of country music fame).
Non-Traditional Bedtime Song 4: Midnight Lullaby
I love the imagery in this song and the message this conveys about the father always being there for his child, perfect for dads (and mamas too!). Bonus points if someone in your baby’s life can approximate Tom Wait’s gravely singing style.
Non-Traditional Bedtime Song 5: What a Wonderful World
This is a classic for a reason, what parent doesn’t think the world got a little more wonderful the day their child came along?
Non-Traditional Bedtime Song 6: Sweet Child o’ Mine by Guns and Roses
I could never get this quite right, but I know a few hard rock souls who were able to rework this into a baby friendly tune. If you’re a GnR fan give it a try! Here’s a Lullaby version for inspiration.
Non-Traditional Bedtime Song 7: All the Small Things
Another one that takes a bit of imagination and vision. Just strip away the frenetic speed, power cords and punk rock vocals. You’re left with a sweet tune, and the “na, na, na….” portion of the chorus is soothing for babies who love the repetition. Check out Sparrow Sleeps’ rendition for an idea of how to slow this one down.
Non-Traditional Bedtime Song 8: Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You
Ok, so maybe you can’t croon like Ms. Hill, but it doesn’t mean that your little babe won’t appreciate the attempt when you remind them just how wonderful they are.
Non-Traditional Bedtime Song 9: Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Just a super sweet and fun song. If you haven’t heard this version, it’s an unexpected, but welcome and lovely departure from the original with Israel’s signature Hawaiian spin.
Non-Traditional Bedtime Song 10: Three Little Birds
This one has all the key elements of a great bedtime tune: reassuring lyrics, repetition, a sweet lovely tune. Just a fun one to sing!
Non-Traditional Bedtime Song 11: Rocks and Water
Not for everyone, this hauntingly beautiful song is about a mother who was killed by her lover. But if the chorus resonates with you, you just might want to give this one a try. “I will be rocks I will be water, I will leave this to my daughter, Lift your head up in the wind, When you feel yourself grow colder, Wrap the night around your shoulders, I will be with you even then, Even when I cannot see your face anymore.” I personally love the imagery of a mother being present for her daughter long after she has gone.
Non-Traditional Bedtime Song 12: White Rabbit
Ok, so true story, family lore has it my mother rocked me to sleep with this one (she denies it, I don’t believe her!). In all seriousness, even in all its psychedelic glory, there’s nothing in this song that you won’t find in the children’s classic Alice in Wonderland tale. I shamelessly sing this one to my daughter on the regular!
I hope this list and it has inspired you to try something new. Have fun!