When they’re little, sing ‘em what you like, with a little backup

Brian’s baby is getting better musical exposure than mine ever did:

For an infant that you’re trying to sing to sleep it really doesn’t matter what you sing them, just that you’re singing. My wife and I both sing songs that we know all the words to – mostly punk, heavy metal, and industrial. While some of the more mellow songs are appropriate I’ve found that songs with a fast upbeat pace don’t really make a big differences.

If you can’t always remember the words: Load songs onto your MP3 player and buy a cheap set of ear buds. Cut one of the ear buds off and stick the good one in your ear. Instant prompting and musical accompaniments that only you can hear while leaving your other ear free to hear your child.

Related: Do you improvise upon lullabies? Talk amongst yourselves.


  1. Tim Josephson says

    I’ve been singing my daughter whatever songs pop into my head, but when she was a baby, the only thing that popped into my head was sad cowboy songs, so she’s been falling asleep to “I’m So Lonesome (I Could Cry)”, “Streets of Laredo” and “Long Black Veil” for 2+ years now.

  2. says

    I can’t get behind this ear bud abuse. Why not just, I don’t know, remove one of the ear buds from your ear while the other one is in the other ear?

  3. Rhonda Taylor says

    What a great idea! When my twin were born I worked so hard on learning a bunch of classic children’s songs from Iza Trapani’s books. When my daughter was born seven years later, I thought they would just come back to me but they didn’t. What came out instead were songs by Patsy Cline, the Isley Brothers, Smokey Robinson, and Hank Williams. It took me a while to realize that those songs were the ones my mother and grandmother hummed or sang while they were cleaning, sewing, etc. So I guess I have my mom and grandma as backup singers because that’s who I hear when I sing!

  4. says

    I’m with Steve – if a dangling ear bud is an issue, just tuck it into your shirt. Why waste a perfectly good set of ear buds, even cheap ones?

  5. Sandy says

    Yup, we sang just about anything to our son when he was an infant. We made up songs and sang as we dressed him and bathed… And now that he is nearly 4, he has his own sing-song routine, singing about how he loves us and his baby sister, or about how is he a “genius jumper” while he jumps off the bed. And the downside to letting him listen to our pop songs is: he loves “I’m a Barbie Girl” which is from ages ago and he used to love the beat as an infant, and if you have heard it, you know why it might be inappropriate for a 4 yo boy. And then there’s “I’m leaving on a Jet Plane” which he likes when falling asleep.

  6. Amy says

    I sing mostly They Might Be Giants to my 7 week old, but her favorite lullaby is “My Favourite Chords” by The Weakerthans.

  7. rednexmama says

    Oh, poor S… How are we ever going to explain to her why all of the other kids don’t necessarily rock out to the Johnny Cash? It started off with me not being able to come up with anything but the general melody to “Flat Top Box” (replacing the words with “sat a little blonde haired girl”) but it worked out so well that she now knows the intros to at least a half dozen CDs. Whatever works, right?

  8. says

    My ten month old enjoys all sorts of music! I did make sure that my music labeled “explicit” was taken out of my ipod playlists that I listen to at home. That’s mostly to avoid the “Barbie Girl” issue later on. The last thing I was my daughter to listen to at age 5 is Tupac and Snoop’s “Americaz Most Wanted”

    I have also purchased a ton of songs from Itunes. There are some good iMixes on there for “music for children that won’t make your ears bleed.” I was pleasantly surprised to find so much good music out there.

  9. Beatriz says

    I’ve tried singing lullabies to my 3 month old son, but either I can’t remember the lyrics or I find them too dumb or even cruel (serioulsy, why sing about a baby falling from a tree?). So I sing songs from the Beatles and U2 and he loves them. He even tries to “sing along” with me. And when he hears the songs I sing at bedtime, he immediately relaxes and dozes off. I intend to learn children’s songs for him but I figure that I can do that later, when he actually understands the lyrics. Right now anything works. I also play a lot of classical music for him and make up songs about what I’m doing.

  10. Sharon says

    I sang what I remembered the words to so my son got a lot of Pink Floyd. I fear he will sing Comfortably Numb one day in daycare!!

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