4 Simple Steps to Starting a Lullaby Ritual

As the word “may” initiates the lullaby “May All Children” for the first time in class this session, a four-year-old boy exclaims, “THIS IS OUR SONG!” as he dives to the carpet into his mom’s arms.

Lullabies resonate strongly with so many of us. I have very clear memories of my mother singing nightly lullabies to me growing up. There are a handful of songs that bring her voice into my head, and a smile into my heart, any and every time I hear them.

For the sweet vibrations of a lullaby ritual in your home, here are four steps to get started:

• Start simple. Sing one of the lullabies from the collection we’re using in class, a classic you remember from your own childhood, a holiday carol, an old folk song, or even your favorite chart topping pop ballad! It doesn’t really matter what song you sing-just sing!

• Don’t worry about the words. If you can’t recall the second half of the verse, just sing the parts you do know. In addition, you can try humming it, singing it on a single syllable like “la”, or even replacing all the lyrics with your child’s name.

• Sing from the heart. Young children are so connected to their parents’ voices; it doesn’t matter if you sound as beautiful as the voices on the professional recordings you have, or if it cracks a little on the high notes, or even if it’s a little off key. Hearing your voice softly singing is an expression of love, and can help your child relax, soothe stress, signal sleep time, and create memories and a lasting bond between you.

• Repetition is good. Repetition is good. Don’t feel that you need a massive repertoire in your back pocket, or that it takes all 32 verses of a song to keep it interesting. Children love and learn from repetition. Even a “la-la-la” version of one or two songs may be plenty for your nightly ritual; your child may even prefer this!

The gift of a song can resonate for a lifetime…

Vanessa Heilman
Certification Level I, Music Together Teacher

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The Joy of Family Music

Heartsong Music teaches Music Together®, the internationally recognized early childhood music and movement program for children from birth through grade two and the adults who love them.

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