Soothe with Singing: The Power of Lullabies - Early Intervention Technical Assistance Portal

Early Intervention Technical Assistance Portal

Soothe with Singing: The Power of Lullabies

Can you remember a lullaby that was sung to you? 

Perhaps it was a traditional lullaby, like Hush, Little Baby or Itsy-Bitsy Spider, or a favorite song such as A Bushel and a Peck or Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Lullabies are a wonderful way to soothe and calm little ones and serve a greater purpose than simply rocking babies to sleep.

Musical Parenting Expert Amy Robbins-Wilson explains that lullabies are important because they are “healing music…that is like getting a sonic massage.” Lullabies are a great way to help babies and children feel comforted and loved, teach language and form brain pathways at the same time. The various tones and rhythms found in music and lullabies help to lay the foundation for learning mathematical patterns. The social, emotional, and intellectual intelligence that babies begin to learn through lullabies set the foundational skills that are necessary to succeed both in school and in life.



So how can you help parents and caregivers choose a lullaby?

Start by asking them to think about the lullabies that were sung to them as children. Lullabies are often passed down through generations. Many of us grow up to sing songs to our own children that we heard and enjoyed as children ourselves. Let parents know about the importance of repeating lullabies. Babies will benefit the most if a parent or caregiver consistently sings the same 1-3 lullabies to them each night. Keep the conversation going by creating a list of lullabies or singing them together. Share how some lullabies are just different words set to the same tune, such as the ABCs; Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star; and Ba Ba Black Sheep. Encourage parents and caregivers to create their own songs and set them to a favorite tune.

If you would like a refresher on lullaby lyrics, would like to explore new lullabies, or would like to share a great lullaby resource with families, visit the Responsive Teaching and Caregiving topic on the Early Language and Literacy Resources for Families page. Look for the title “Why Sing Lullabies?” to find a link to the Baby Center where you can find the lyrics to over 15 lullabies!

Let us know in the comments how you share information about the importance of lullabies with families.

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