Hello there, parents, both brand-new and experienced! At some point or the other, you’re sure to have gone through that stage of staying up all night long because your little one refuses to go to sleep. In fact, a lot of you are probably reading this article late at night, cradling your crying baby in one arm and scrolling through the internet to find a solution! There are certain things that you probably follow for your baby’s bedtime routine – feeding, massaging, bathing; the common steps. But it has been found that a lot of millennial parents are actually ditching an important bedtime routine; something that a lot of us probably grew up on!
And that’s singing lullabies!
Research Shows That Younger Parents are Ditching the ‘Lullaby’ Ritual
You may have been used to your parents gently rocking you or your younger siblings to sleep with lullabies (or even nursery rhymes!), like ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’, ‘Nanhi kali sone chali’, ‘Lalla lalla lori’, or popular ones in your mother tongue. Your mother probably sat down next to you, and stroked your hair or patted you on the arm, till you fell asleep listening to her soothing voice. Sigh! Brings back such wonderful memories, doesn’t it!
But the tradition is fast dwindling down, at least in Western countries! The Lullaby Trust conducted a poll among 2000 adults, which revealed that only 38% of the subjects actually still sang lullabies for their kids (under 5 years of age). In fact, the younger the parent, the less likely they were to sing to their child. Also, women were found to be twice as likely to sing to their children, as opposed to their male counterparts.
But Why is it Such an Important Routine Anyway?
It may seem like a simple trick to make babies fall asleep, but that’s not the only purpose served by lullabies.
1. It Helps Regulate Emotions
Music is known to help steer emotions in a particular direction – it can either relieve you of stress or better your mood; but in the case of disturbing music, the opposite can happen too! Lullabies are, of course, quite calming and soothing in nature, so they help your child feel at peace, and comfortable enough to gently drift off to sleep. Studies have also shown that lullabies have the power to relieve babies of pain and anxiety.
2. It Affects the Child in a Positive Manner Subconsciously
The melody aside, sweet lyrics assuring your child that he’s loved and in a safe place while he’s in his parents’ arms are bound to make him feel special. The general tone of wishing goodness upon the child will have him feeling positive, and waiting for his dad or mum to sing him to sleep every night!
3. It Helps Your Child Sleep Better
Since lullabies help reduce the feeling of stress and anxiety in your child, it relaxes him mentally and physically, thereby helping him fall asleep faster AND better. You’ll notice that singing lightly to him when he wakes up in the middle of the night comforts him and lulls him to sleep soon.
4. It Helps Develop His Language Skills
Simple words and the rhythmic tone they’re repeated in every day will help your child pick up these songs quickly. Imagine how adorable your little one is going to sound, squeakily repeating his favourite lullabies after you!
5. Lullabies Breed Familiarity
When you sing for your child as part of a routine, he begins to associate it with bedtime, and thus, it speeds up the process of him falling asleep!
6. For Dads, Lullabies Offer a Chance to Bond with the Baby
When the baby is quite young, a lot of the responsibilities with regard to the child’s well-being falls on the mother. Unless there’s bottle feeding involved, dads can’t really feed their infants. Since a lot of mothers don’t prefer bathing their child at night, dads tend to miss out on this activity when they’re at work (assuming their partner is a stay-at-home mom!). Putting the baby to sleep then naturally becomes the one thing that dads can get involved to bond with their babies. And singing to the baby is a lovely way to do that!
7. It Enhances the Parent-Child Bond
When you sing for your child, you won’t just be humming a tune, will you? You’ll be rocking your child or comforting him with a soothing touch, looking at his face and making expressions in time with the music. You’ll be gentle, smiling, and radiating warmth and comfort. All of these gestures along with the singing, help build and foster trust in your child, that his parents’ arms are the warmest and safest places to be in!
How to Sing a Lullaby to your Child
Relax, it isn’t as complicated as it sounds – in fact, you don’t have to be a qualified singer to hum a simple lullaby and put your baby to sleep. But certain little tricks help in making sure that the activity actually helps your baby. Choose a simple tune and maintain a low volume. The idea isn’t to stimulate your child too much with music, but to help him relax.
An uncomplicated tune, repeated over and over, will calm and soothe your child. Repeat a particular relaxing motion – either rocking or swaying your child or gently stroking his skin – that will slowly make him feel drowsy. Rhythm and repetition, and plenty of love, of course, is the key to gently lulling your baby to sleep! And as much as it may be convenient, try not to turn to videos on the internet – after all, nothing can replace the real deal!
If you’ve been sticking to the good ol’ routine of singing your baby to sleep, much like your parents had done when you were a child, your child is definitely going to benefit from it. And if you’ve been holding back because you feel like your singing isn’t up to the mark, well, time to brush up on your loris – your baby is a fan of your voice already so you have nothing to worry about!