Wednesday 12 October 2011

Songs we sing to our children

Like lots of mothers-to-be, when pregnant with my first I spent lots of time relaxing in the bath listening to classical music. Funnily enough, I didn't manage it quite so often with the second! I did have another couple of songs which I liked to play to baby during pregnancy. The first was the (highly unsuitable for children) Kanye West - Stronger ("I need you to hurry up now, 'cos I can't wait much longer") and Gabriella Cilmi - Nothing Sweet About Me ("Tell you something that I've found, the world's a better place when (you're) upside down").

When my babies were small, I spent a lot of time marching them up and down trying to get them to sleep (yes, I know, rod for own back and all that). I needed songs with a fast beat that could be repeated as necessary. A particular favourite was "What Shall We Do With The Crying Baby?" to the tune of "Drunken Sailor". Verses included classics like "Walk him up and down 'til he stops crying", "When will you ever go to sle-ep" and "I'm not doing this when you're 18". I also created "The Baby in my Arms" to the tune of "The Wheels on the Bus". Typical verses were "Mummy with the baby walks up and down", "The baby in my arms goes waa waa waa", The baby in my arms won't go to sleep" and so on.

Of course I do sing more traditional songs with my children too. We have a brilliant CD with a mixture of classic nursery rhymes, modern songs and even television theme tunes. A copy lives in the car and has been known to prevent total meltdown, or at least delay it momentarily. Harry loves "The Wheels on the Bus" and remembers an extraordinary number of verses, as well as those he makes up himself. Still early days for Mia, but she seems to be developing a fondness for "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Once I Caught a Fish Alive" with accompanying actions (counting on fingers, signing for fish and a little nip to the nose with the bite!).

What songs did you sing to your child?


  1. I love the re-writing of 'The Wheels on the Bus'. My husband and I do the same when soothing Talitha (we create rods of our backs and don't care). He has a habit of taking Christian worship songs and inserting her name, which is surely bordering between lullabye and sacrilege!

  2. Oh Jennifer I love this post. The idea of all those new lyrics to the old songs is brilliant! Its amazing what we come up with when under pressure. Thanks so much for joining in.

  3. We make lots of new friends when we take Harry on the bus. He sings his way very loudly through all the verses plus a few unofficial ones made up by grandad!

  4. Your song was 'Jennifer, juniper' and Anna's was 'Squeezy Anna, down where the watermelons grow'. I don't remember beep three having a song. Funny, I can remember my grandma having special songs for us (this was in the 1950s). Mine was 'Oh, oh Antonio' and my sister's was 'Put another nickel in the nickelodeum, all I want is loving you, and music music music' which she was teased about as she used to sing as '...all I want is nothing on and ....'. Strange, I had forgotten all that until you started this topic.

  5. Mum, what about Tom's got a head like a ping pong ball?! I remember that one! You should write your own blog post about the songs you used to sing to us. I can't take credit for starting this great topic though!

  6. Squeezy Anna, squeezy Anna, down where the watermelons grow (and they've all got pips in)


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