BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page was last updated in August 2004We've left it here for reference.More information

18 September 2014
Accessibility help
Text only
TV and radio Directory A to Z Talk Lifestyle Parenting homepage

BBC Homepage
TV and radio

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!

Baby singing in the bath

Songs and rhymes

Jane Kemp

Young babies love listening to music. It doesn't have to be 'baby' music, either - he'll probably enjoy the same music you do, especially if it means spending time playing with you.

What a song and dance

Let's dance - if your baby's wakeful and alert, try a gentle dance together. Hold him securely over your shoulder and move around the room in time to your favourite tape or CD, humming the tune as you go.

Classical or chill-out music will help you and your baby unwind

Settle down - a soothing tape of love songs, classical or chill-out music will help you and your baby unwind. Rock your baby as you sway slowly to the beat.

Sing-song - your own voice is your baby's favourite music, so sing to him even if you don't think you sound fabulous. Your baby won't care if you're in tune - he just adores that familiar, loving sound and the closeness and eye contact that goes with the experience.

Hush - parents have sung lullabies to their babies for centuries, and you'll find a quiet session of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star - sung slowly and repetitively - may help to settle your baby, especially if he's restless or grizzly.

Some parents have noticed their babies quietening when a familiar song or TV theme tune comes on. It may be that they heard it while in the womb and associate it with you settling down to relax.

Nursery rhyme action

From around six months, your baby will be able to sit up with a little help and support from you. He'll also able to hold up his head confidently, so you can enjoy bouncing, jiggling action rhymes together.

Out for a ride - try pretending your knee is a horse, trotting your baby gently along. Hold his waist or hands as you sing a rhyme such as: "Horsey, horsey, don't you stop. Just let your feet go clippetty-clop. Your tail goes swish and the wheels go round. Giddy-up, we're homeward bound!" Take your lead from your baby. He'll soon let you know if it's too scary or not vigorous enough.

Big bounce - your baby will love standing up on your knee and showing how he can bounce as you hold him. You can sing: "Boing! Boing! Boing! Wheeee!" and fly him up into the air for the last bounce.

Take it easy - for a quieter game, lie your baby along your lap facing you. Hold his hands and carefully draw him up and down as you sing: "Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream." This is a game for an older baby who has good head control and can sit unaided.

Avoid making any loud sounds close to your baby's ear.

Let's listen

Babies have very good sense of hearing from birth. Shake a bell or soft rattle to one side of your baby's head and he'll slowly turn towards the sound. Once he's a little older he'll enjoy nothing better than making musical noises for himself.

Noisy baby - from around four months your baby will be able to hold and shake a rattle. You can make a shaker by securely sealing some rice or dried pasta in a small plastic pot or drink container.

Drum beat - when your baby can sit up, offer him a few upturned pans and a wooden spoon to bash them with.

Hip-hip hurray - by the time he's a one-year old, your baby will be able to clap his hands together, so you can play games such pat-a-cake or just clap along to music. Your baby will also love clapping after you've shared a song together, so lead the way by saying "Hurray!"

Where's it gone? - try hide-and-seek sounds. Jingle a rattle or noisy toy behind a cushion, and see if your baby can guess where the sound is coming from. Then he can have a go at shaking it himself.

Always finish any game with a big reassuring cuddle and kiss for your baby.

Back to top

Disclaimer: The BBC Parenting site is provided for your general information only. The information contained on this site should not be treated as a substitute for medical, legal or other professional advice. The BBC is not responsible or liable for the contents of any websites of third parties which are listed on this site.

In Lifestyle

Music and dancing

Elsewhere on

Tweenies: song time
Parents' Music Room

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy