5 Lullabies to Sing to Babies

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Ahh, the lullaby. There are so many kinds of lullabies to sing these days – traditional lullabies, lullabies from pop artists, and even Disney movie lullabies!

Although there are only 5 lullabies here, these are lullabies from Disney movies AND they are specifically selected for those parents that aren’t confident singers.

The lullaby is among one of the most common song styles that parents sing to their babies. For generations, mothers and fathers have used lullabies to calm their babies and help them fall fast asleep.

You might even remember someone singing you lullaby when you were little. Those kind of memories are strong ones. In fact, many new parents can still recall lullabies that they heard as a child and tend to pass those on to their own children.

A Mother cradles and comforts her baby as she hums the child a comforting lullaby.

5 Lullabies from Disney Movies that are simple to sing!

You might be wondering: what is it that make lullabies so special?

Well, a lullaby is typically a simple song, with the purpose of calming or soothing a child. The musical structure of most lullabies makes them repetitive and simple to sing. And this is perfect for anyone who wants to sing to their children.  

If we want to get more technical, there are several musical aspects to lullabies and it is these features that help make the lullaby one of the best types of songs to sing for parents.

What musical characteristics do lullabies have?

There are some musical aspects of lullabies that make them a particularly good choice. Most lullabies have a slower tempo to aid in calming and soothing and the melodies and are simple to sing – even for non-singers. So, let’s take a deeper look at these musical characteristics.

First, they are generally slower in tempo. The slower speed of the song provides a calming effect. Just as songs with quicker tempos are better for working out or keeping us motivated, songs with slower tempos can help with relaxation.

In fact, parents who sing to their newborns help greatly in teaching them to regulate their own emotions! Newborns are not able to regulate their own emotions when they are born. So, they look to their care takers to provide clues and help them when needed. (1) This is why singing lullabies in particular when babies are fussy can help calm them.

The rhythm of lullabies are also typically easier to sing – no complicated rhythms or dramatic changes. Amazingly, young infants can detect subtle rhythmic changes in music – even music that has complex rhythms! (2) So, these simple, straight forward rhythms can provide an additional calming factor to these songs.

To keep in line with the simplicity of the songs, the melodies are also quite simple. Essentially, the melodies themselves tend stay within a small range and no weird leaps between notes. And, they often have repeated melodic phrases (which is incredibly helpful for memorizing!).

The themes of lullabies are also, for the most part, similar. Calming texts usually describe dreaming, twinkling stars, nighttime wandering and, quite often, a parent’s love.

What does all of this mean for you?

Well, these elements combine to make the lullaby one of the best choices for a parent to sing to their child – specifically because they are simpler to sing and easier to remember.

You might find that starting with a traditional lullaby is one of the best options for you. But, if you aren’t interested in traditional lullabies, then the list below is for you.

What about all the other Disney “lullaby” songs?

Now, there are other, longer lists out there that list “lullabies” from Disney movies. But my issues with those lists is more often than not, they contains many songs that aren’t really lullabies.

Many of the songs included don’t have easily singable melodies and their texts, while good, are not thematic of most lullabies. In fact, while those songs are beautiful, they are not easily sung by most parents. And that, in turn, can keep some parents from trying other lullabies.

The songs listed below are wonderful lullabies that appeared in either Disney movies or were made popular by past artists. In fact, these songs were chosen because they are easy to remember, easy to sing, and the perfect duo or calming melodies and soothing texts.

It’s worth mentioning here that because these songs are not in public domain, I cannot legally reproduce the lyrics here (not yet anyway). So, I encourage you to find a video (many of which are linked below) to learn each song.

So, without further ado, here are my favorite “popular” lullaby songs that are definitely worth listening to and learning to sing to your little one (or loved one).

Disney lullabies to sing

“When You Wish Upon A Star” from Pinocchio

This song is truly a classic from the Disney films. Do you consider this song to be a lullaby?

Fun Fact: This song is ranked by the American Film Institute as #7 of the Top 100 Greatest Songs in American films of the 20th Century. Of ALL the Disney songs from animated movies, this is the highest rated Disney song. The next top Disney song comes in at #19 (“Some Day My Prince Will Come” from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves).

“When You Wish Upon A Star” was originally written by Leigh Harline and Ned Washington specifically for Disney’s version of the film. Cliff Edwards lent his voice both to Jiminy Cricket and the song.

This song is wonderful as a lullaby and it ticks all the boxes of what you’d expect a lullaby to be!

“Baby Mine” from Dumbo

Now, this is a song that almost always brings tears to my eyes. It’s a wonderful song for those looking for a moving, gentle reminder of a parents support and love for her child.

Now, the text is not necessarily a nighttime theme as many lullabies are, but the melody is repetitive and is easy to sing.

The music was composed by Frank Churchill while the text was written by Ned Washington (who also wrote “When You Wish Upon A Star”). The Disney version was sung by Betty Noyes, but the song has been covered several times.

Some of the most well-known artists who covered this song include Allison Kraus, Bette Midler, and The Hound + The Fox. Indeed, the beauty and simplicity of the song has lead it to be covered over 70 times!

So, there is no shortage or recordings for this song. You’ll almost certainly find a version that suits your liking. What I like about the recordings above is that each has it’s own style. And because it’s been covered so many times, you are certain to find one you like!

“La La Lu” from Lady and the Tramp

This was my favorite Disney movie as a child. (Am I letting on now how old I am?) I never really noticed this song until I started looking for Disney lullabies and then this one came up. I wanted a new lullaby to learn and this one definitely caught my ear.

“La la lu” certainly fits the typical style of a lullaby. And, on this version, Peggy Lee lends her soothing voice to this song and makes it quite memorable. Singing of stars and sweet dreams is sure to help you both calm and relax a bit.

Mother singing a lullaby to baby

“Stay Awake” from Mary Poppins

Growing up, I watched other movies instead of Mary Poppins. But, I can certainly understand the fascination behind the movie for children.

Julie Andrews sings “Stay Awake” to tell the children to not fall asleep. But it’s a wonderful pairing of reverse psychology with lullaby characteristics, which make this song an absolute classic.

I’ll admit, this song might seem challenging for some. But, it’s actually quite good because it’s short and it’s repetitive. And what I like about the above video, is that there is very little accompaniment. This makes focusing and learning the melody that much easier!

“Too la Roo la roo la” (also, “That’s an Irish Lullaby”) by Bing Crosby.

Okay, this song isn’t in a Disney movie, but it is a popular song from the 1940’s.

This song is by far one of my favorite popular lullaby songs. It has a personal history for me, and I still enjoy singing this one to my son.

Bing Crosby made this song popular in 1944. It was originally written by James Royce Shannon, a prominent composer in the early 1900s and although it’s been covered many times since then, this version is simply my favorite.

This particular recording is one of my favorites. Bing Crosby is accompanied by John Scott Trotter & His Orchestra and they provide the perfect, quiet background for a peaceful and reminiscent lullaby. In fact, this is one of the recordings you could even put on repeat and easily sleep to if you wanted.

If you check out the comments on the video, many of the commenters remember hearing this song as a child or remember parents and grandparents singing this to them. So, this song is truly one that has been passed down for a few generations now – making it a solid lullaby standard.

So, there you have 5 excellent options for lullabies from Disney movies and popular song to sing to baby. Each are easy to sing and are perfect for those parents who aren’t confident in their singing skills.

Which lullaby do you prefer to sing? Make sure to let me know in the comments below! And if you want more options, be sure to check out these traditional lullabies!

Happy lullaby singing,
Liz

(1) Trehub, Sandra & Ghazban, Niusha & Corbeil, Marieve. (2015). Musical affect regulation in infancy. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1337(1). 

(2) Trehub, Sandra & Hannon, Erin. (2006). Infant music perception: domain-general or domain-specific mechanisms? Cognition 100, 73-99. 

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