7 Soothing Baby Bedtime Stories and Songs

As parents, we know that reading or singing to baby is a soothing way to help them sleep. Looking for ideas of what to read or sing? Take a look at our list for some bedtime song and story inspiration to help you get started.

1. “What If?”
“What If?” is a charming story about a little girl called Nandi who uses her imagination to wonder what would happen in different situations. “What if jelly beans made you jump really high?” is just one of the questions she ponders. The story features plenty of colourful illustrations that are designed to be viewed on a tablet or smartphone. It’s one of the five-minute stories from Storyberries – a site designed to help parents find children’s bedtime stories on the go. Read “What If?” on the Storyberries website.

2. “Nighty Night Circus”
If reading aloud isn’t your favourite thing to do, then why not take advantage of one of the many bedtime stories for babies on YouTube? Let performances by professional narrators lull your baby to sleep (and who knows, maybe you too). Wondering where to start with the huge selection available? Try “Nighty Night Circus” – this animated bedtime story for babies follows a series of animals as they get ready to go to bed. The magical tale was created by Oscar-nominated animator, Heidi Wittlinger, and is the sequel to one of the most popular bedtime apps ever. We think it has all the right ingredients for a good bedtime story – and more than three million parents agree!

3. “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt”
Michael Rosen’s poem about a family on the trail of a bear has become a modern children’s classic since it was first published in 1989 – and yet it remains as relevant and popular as ever. It’s one of Book Trust’s top 100 reads for children under three years old. The repetitions of the rhymes make this a perfect pick for a bedtime story. You can learn more about the authors and read reviews from parents on the Book Trust’s website.

4. “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”
We’re all familiar with this popular baby bedtime story – and your little one will soon get to know it too. But how many of the original verses do you know?

The poem was first published in 1806 as “The Star” before later being set to music to become a nursery rhyme. And of course, its popularity endures today.

The original version of the rhyme contains four verses – a welcome variation for mums and dads who find themselves having to sing it over and over again to get baby to sleep! You can find the full version on the Poetry Foundation’s website.

5. “Rock a-bye Baby”
Also known as Hush a-Bye Baby, this lullaby is even older than “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and was first published in 1765. The fact that it is still so well-known and loved today is testament to its appeal to little ears and minds – and, of course, its ability to soothe babies to sleep.

Singing this to your baby as part of their bedtime routine is a great way to bond with them – as well as helping them to relax. Of course, if singing isn’t your thing, you can play this recording of Rock a-Bye Baby and listen along too.

This video is part of a wealth of early learning resources provided on the BBC’s School Radio website, where you’ll also find a variety of other songs, complete with audio performances and transcripts of the lyrics so you can sing along too.

6. Revisit an old favourite
Sometimes story-time can be a chore – especially if you’re struggling with a little one who just won’t sleep. But it’s also a great opportunity to revisit and share memories from your own childhood. Spend some time rediscovering favourite bedtime songs and stories and sharing them. You could even ask your own parents for a tried and trusted baby bedtime story that worked when you were little.

7. Create a baby bedtime story of your own
Feeling creative? Why not make up a baby bedtime story of your own to share with your baby? You could use a family photo book as the basis for the story or use your own childhood for inspiration. If you’re musically gifted, you could even turn it into a song.

Still struggling to get baby to sleep? Try our snuggly Baby Wool nursery range to help your baby benefit from the natural, sleep-enhancing properties of wool.

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