10 Beautiful Rhymes & Lullabies for Bedtime

Photo: allaboutmanners.wordpress.com
Photo: allaboutmanners.wordpress.com

Every night when I tuck my little guys into bed, they ask for “Lullaby” and “Child.” The first is Brahms’ beautiful lullaby, which my mother sang to me every night of my childhood, and the other is “All through the Night,” another lullaby that I grew up hearing and love even more than the Brahms one:

Sleep, my child, and peace attend thee
All through the night.
Guardian angels watch will lend thee
All through the night.
Soft the drowsy hours are creeping,
Hill and vale in slumber sleeping,
God alone her watch is keeping
All through the night.

I’m happy to sing to them because I think that bedtime rituals are crucial for children. First of all, it calms them right down. While singing, I stroke their little quivering bodies, still energized from the day’s adventures, and gradually they grow still, listening to the words that they know by heart. Secondly, lullabies and rhymes signal the official start of nighttime. They know that when we’re finished, I’ll kiss them, turn out the light, and leave the room.

While these two favourite lullabies are a mainstay and can never be skipped, the boys also delight in hearing a variety of nursery rhymes. I get a thrill from many of these rhymes, too, because of their historical value. Several of them are centuries old, yet they are still relevant and continue to entertain my little ones. Some things never change. These are a few of our favourites:

Star light, star bright
First star I see tonight
I wish I may, I wish I might
Have the wish I wish tonight.

Good night
Sleep tight
Wake up bright
In the morning light
To do what’s right
With all your might. 

Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town,
Upstairs, downstairs, in his nightgown.
Rapping at the windows, crying through the locks,
“Are all the children in their beds?
It’s past eight o’clock!” 

For those goofy moods, this one always elicits giggles:

Good night
Sleep tight
Don’t let the bedbugs bite.
And if they do,
Take your shoe
And squash them
Till they’re black and blue.

I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always.
As long as I’m living,
My baby you’ll be.
(from “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch)

When Grandma, aka Wawa, comes to visit, she always gives the boys a blessing:

May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make his face to shine upon you
And keep you in his grace.  Amen.

These are some longer rhymes I want to learn by heart because I think they’re so beautiful.

Sleep, baby, sleep,

Thy papa guards the sheep;

Thy mama shakes the dreamland tree

And from it fall sweet dreams for thee,

Sleep, baby, sleep.

Sleep, baby, sleep,

Our cottage vale is deep;

The little lamb is on the green,

With woolly fleece so soft and clean,

Sleep, baby, sleep.
Sleep, baby, sleep,

Down where the woodbines creep;

Be always like the lamb so mild,

A kind and sweet and gentle child,

Sleep, baby, sleep.

This next rhyme was in a book of bedtime rhymes at my Grandma Johnson’s house and I always think of her whenever I hear it.

Winken, Blinken, and Nod one night

Sailed off in a wooden shoe.

Sailed off on a river of crystal light,

Into a sea of dew.

“Where are you going, and what do you wish?”

The old moon asked the three.

“We have come to fish for the herring fish

That live in the beautiful sea;

Nets of silver and gold have we!”

 and Nod. 

The old moon laughed and sang a song,

As they rocked in the wooden shoe.

And the wind that sped them all night long

Ruffled the waves of dew.

The little stars were the herring fish

That lived in the beautiful sea.

”Now cast your nets wherever you wish—

Never afeard are we.”
So cried the stars to the fisherman three,

 and Nod.

Photo: ayearfromoakcottage.org
Photo: ayearfromoakcottage.org

And this one is just cute:
The Man in the moon

Looked out of the moon,

And this is what he said:

“‘Tis time that, now I’m getting up,

All babies went to bed.”

Do you and/or your kids have favourite nursery rhymes and lullabies?

You might also like:
This Too Shall Pass
The Gift of a Sibling
Ambulances and Fire Trucks


5 thoughts on “10 Beautiful Rhymes & Lullabies for Bedtime

  1. I sing ‘Baby Mine’ when my little one is having a hard time settling – it’s the lullaby from Disney’s Dumbo.

  2. Love it! This was key when my boys were younger…. You’re absolutely bang on with the relaxing aspect of it. We sing sleep baby sleep, but they also respond well to Hush Little Baby, Swing Low Sweet Chariot, Dodo, l’enfant Do, and Stay Awake (from Mary Poppins).

  3. Love lullabies! I had a repertoire that I would sing before bed and after nighttime feelings while rocking and burping my kiddos. It was a good 7-10 songs and Shaun used to listen through the monitor – it put him back to sleep too.
    I’m lucky to learn new lullabies all the time thru Kindermusik. Each class ends with purposeful relaxation and calming songs. That song you mentioned, Sleep, baby, sleep” is German and I used it this week at the end of the family-time class.
    While I no longer remember my exact sequence of rocking lullabies, I know they included Twinkle Twinkle, you are my sunshine, over the rainbow, Brahms lullaby, love grows under the wild oak tree, the rainbow song. You can turn almost any song into a lullaby by singing it sweetly and slowly 🙂

  4. I remember Grandma Johnson’s Winken, Blinken and Nod. I read to my boys every night. Unfortunately, my singing wasn’t their forte, they asked me not to sing. I have 2 separate series of books for the boys one is Berenstain Bears and the other is a series of young stories. The other day I had company and the mom went through my books and said, that she had grown up with these books as well. I am glad I kept them for when I have grandchildren

  5. I was looking for some lullabies to sing to my dogs. They love it. It relaxes them and they take it as a sign of affection as I like to insert their names into the song. I don’t sing to kids. I run from em : )

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