I never thought I'd sing to my pregnant belly. But after reading the research that claims there are many benefits to talking and singing to your unborn child, I gave it a try. At the time I was working in the city, so each morning I'd sit alone in my car while waiting for the train and sing "You Are My Sunshine," a classic song my parents sang to me, to my precious belly bump. I tried to keep it up throughout my pregnancy, wishing and hoping that when my daughter was born she'd recognize my voice.
So last March when Maggie was born, my husband, Jason, and I quickly learned that newborns sleep on very different schedules than we do. And whether I sat in the glider and rocked her, or walked around the house, I sang my version of "You Are My Sunshine" over and over and over again -- eventually it soothed her to sleep. Jason had a different approach. He enjoyed singing "Three Is a Magic Number" by Blind Melon and "Here Comes The Sun" by The Beatles. Even now, almost seven months later, Maggie is calmed by our singing, no matter how silly or out-of-tune we may be.
For many parents, the songs they sing to their children have special meaning. Others are just looking for new ideas on what to sing -- anything to get them to sleep, right?
With that in mind, I asked our Facebook and Twitter followers to tell us what songs they sing (or sang) to their kids. Here's what they said.
Click on the song title to listen to the song on YouTube.com.
We sang "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" to Brian, now 3, his whole life. If he's not feeling well and every night after prayers. He now sings it to soothe his brother, Leo, who is 6 months, every time he cries. It's very sweet to watch him try to make his brother feel better using a song that always made him feel better.
-Bonnie Esau-Spellman, Hampton Bays
"The Little Dutch Boy," by Johnny Verbeck. From my grandmother to my grandchildren!
"Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." Now my daughter sings it to her sons.
-Carol Kosark Southard
"Singin' in the Rain." When my nephew (now 8) was a baby he would settle to a dancing bunny that sang that song ... So we always used it for him. Now that I have my own ... I just started singing it one day. It was funny!
-Maria Lazzinnaro-Condello, New Hyde Park
"My Dad used to sing "Goodnight Sweetheart," by the Platters, to my sister and I.
-Julia Miller, Port Jefferson Station
"Scarlet Ribbons," which was composed in 1949 by Evelyn Danzig in her Port Washington living room. She was also my great aunt. It has been recorded by many artists over the years including Willie Nelson, Harry Belafonte, Joan Baez, Michael Crawford, Sinead O'Connor, The Cats and The Kingston Trio.
"You Are My Sunshine" is our favorite. Our grandchildren sang this song at our 50th anniversary!
-Ethel Ruggiero, Medford
We named our son Sean because of the song "Beautiful Boy." So that's his lullaby.
"Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and "Edelweiss" are our favorites!
-Kristi Jones Duda
"You Are My Sunshine," "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" (and she tickles her fingers on my palm like she is the spider), and "Rock-a-Bye Baby." Then when those run out, we just randomly bust into a song. She also likes when her sister sings "Edelweiss."
-Cynthia Whittemore, originally from Baldwin
"Somewhere Over the Rainbow"
-Claudia Kilarjian Muller
"The Rainbow Connection" from the Muppet Show
-Erika Mandelman Muller, Merrick
"Lullabye" by Billy Joel
-Jason Portnoy, Sound Beach
"You Are So Beautiful!" I sing this to my daughter. I was never told this growing up and wanted her to know that she is so beautiful to me.
Don't ask me why but I sang that song "Goodnight Sweetheart" from "Three Men and a Baby" every single night for 21 months, to be exact. To boot, last month we heard it on the radio for the first time and we both looked at each other. My babe said to me, "Mama. No night-night."
-Nancy T. Olecki
"You're the Love of My Life" from Carly Simon
Julia Mantovi Moschitta, Cold Spring Harbor
Billy Joel's "Lullabye"
-Meghann Collopy Chyla
"Sunshine on My Shoulders"
We don't have any kids, but "Puff The Magic Dragon" was my favorite as a kid.
I sang "What a Wonderful World" to my kids. They still ask for it now and then.
-Ken Norman, Carle Place
Michele Dugan, West Islip
When Gavin, now 17 months, was still in the womb, my ring tone was "New York" by Alicia Keys. Whenever we sing that to him, he falls right to sleep.
-Joe Forte, Grand Forks, N.D., originally from Kings Park
It's not really a lullaby, but my 5-month-old always stops crying when we sing "Mother Gooney Bird."
-Jennifer Given Leary,
I used to sing "Wee Willie Winkie" to my daughter!
-Karen Ring Mascio, Bethpage
When my daughter was just weeks old, she was having a fit in the car. "Piano Man" came on the radio, and I sang along to it. It's now the one sure thing to get her to calm down and fall asleep when all else fails. I guess that even though we moved from LI to N.C., my little one is a Long Island girl at heart.
-Kimberly Guardino Morgan
"Little Guitars" by Van Halen
"Baby Mine" from Dumbo.
-Kathy Paulson, Port Jefferson Station
I sing "Blackbird" by CSN&Young -- my daughter loves it!
-Danyell Miller, Brooklyn
"Taxi," by David Weinstone. A million times for my son!
-Celeste Brown Wright
"Crazy Train" by Ozzy
"Make You Feel My Love"
-Manid Cerrone, New York
Without fail, Simon and Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson" soothed my colicky baby immediately! He went right to sleep!
"Close to You," by The Carpenters, for my blue-eyed, golden-haired daughter.
"I Will" by the Beatles
-Jeanne Gatto Lettieri, Seaford
"Little Cowboy" by Harry Nilsson
-Thomas E. Kolakowski, Syosset
"Michael (Row the Boat Ashore)" -- to my 1-year-old son, Scott, 30 years ago!
-Ira H. Silverman, Bellmore
"Three Little Birds," by Bob Marley
"My Favorite Things" for both my now-adult kids.
Mike Reilly, @globalwriter1
I broke out the real stuff we sang, like "Baby Got Back," "Highway to Hell" and "My Baby Does the Hanky Panky." I sang the goofiest stuff to my kids. The words didn't matter, it was the intonation and the rocking or dancing that worked.
"You and Me Against The World," by Helen Reddy, to my son.
And ... whatever works!
None worked. Drove my daughter around the block in the car!