My 10 Favorite Songs to Sing to Children!

 My 10 Favorite Songs to Sing to Children!

by Lucinda Secrest McDowell



 Everything you told me was absolutely true!

It IS amazing being Granny! And day after tomorrow I finally get to hold my sweet little two-month old Saoirse in my arms again.

And sing to her.

I will sing softly but I will sing her words of love and joy and words of life, as I did with my own four children. And I’m quite confident that she will simply not care if I’m off-key.

Do you sing to your children or grandchildren? If not, why not? Don’t know what to sing?

I thought you might say that. In a casual interview, my friends who have all been grannies longer than I all confessed to singing, even if they were “tone deaf.”

And just what do they sing, you might ask? Let me share some of their answers before I give you my own list…


Fun Grandmother of 21 on the Front Row!

Well, the front runner is quite obviously “Jesus Loves Me” – which I totally get when my Washington DC friend Susan Yates  says it’s her standby. After all, this author and model has 21 grandchildren! I guess you would definitely have to use a short and very familiar song if you have that many to sing to. (In fact, it’s a special song to me as well, if you read last week’s blog “An Amazing Thing Every Mama and Daddy Can Do”)



Texas author Gari Meacham  says that singing “Jesus Loves Me” to her grands is a also a good reminder for her to rest in Jesus’ love. And when California marriage specialist Pam Farrel hears “sing wiff me, Nana,” that 3-year-old  sings the entire hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy!”



Then there are the really great folk classics like “Michael, Row the Boat Ashore” and “Hush Little Baby, Don’t Say a Word, Mama’s Gonna Buy You A Mockingbird” which First Place 4 Health Director  Vicki Heath  sings to her 5 grands on Edisto Island, South Carolina and Chicago area author/actor Maggie Rowe  also sings to her new granddaughter.



Georgia Bible teacher Nancy McGuirk  sings to her 4 grands the same bedtime song she sang to her own children –Here I am Lord, Is it I Lord. I have heard You calling in the night. I will go Lord, if You lead me. I will hold Your people in my heart.” Oklahoma author Cheri Fuller  sings her 6 grands a goodnight lullaby passed down from her father:  Sleep, baby sleep. Close your bright eyes, and I will sing to you a tender lullaby….” 



We grannies also love fun camp songs like “Skidamarink a-dink, a-dink, Skidamarink a-doo, I love you!” sung often by midwest author Kendra Smiley   to her nine. “I have always sung a mixture of songs to the babies – hymns, silly songs, old favorites.  If the idea is for the little one to fall asleep in my arms, then it is soothing songs.  If the goal is entertainment or distraction, I roll out the silly songs.”


“PP” (long story…)

Texas publisher Karen Porter  uses fun motions to sing to her 5 “Sing a song of sixpence a pocket full of rye….” Ending with a fun tweak on the nose!  “That always gets a giggle, but it’s a good thing we don’t take the lyrics literally.” 



And it’s no surprise that Atlanta comedienne and songwriter  Anita Renfroe  loves to “make up nonsensical songs because they don’t understand English yet”  (but I suspect they understand Southern…)

And now, my own eclectic list (including music/lyric links) – favorites  I once sang to my own children and will carry on with Saoirse and future grands, Lord willing…

My 10 Favorite Songs to Sing to Children!

by Lucinda Secrest McDowell (in no particular order)

  1. “All The Way” “When your Granny loves you, it’s no good unless she loves you all the way, happy to be near you when you need someone to cheer you, all the way..” (pretend you are Frank Sinatra or Celine Dion.)
  2. “I Am Jesus’ Little Lamb” (sung by my husband to our 4 kids and now we are passing it along) Ends with “…loves me every day the same, even calls me by my name!”  Other similar choices which give the all-important message of being LOVED: “Jesus Loves Me” (insert your child’s name in instead of ‘me’) and “Jesus Loves the Little Children of the World”  
  3. “You Are My Sunshine”  (it helps if you have a southern twang, which I most certainly do) and “I Love You A Bushel and a Peck”
  4. “Goodnight My Someone, Goodnight My Love” great song from “The Music Man” (I insert her name instead of someone)
  5. “Spirit Song”“O Let the Son of God enfold you with His Spirit and His Love, Let Him fill your heart and satisfy your soul….” (from my Jesus Movement days…)
  6. “Over the Rainbow”  – just because it is a practically perfect song…”if happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow why oh why can’t I?”
  7. “Fairest Lord Jesus” – merely one of the scores of hymns I sing pretty much all the time, so will definitely pass along to little ones… “fair is the sunshine, fairer still the moonlight, and all the twinkling starry host; Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer than all the angels heaven can boast.”
  8. “Edelweiss” and “My Favorite Things” because if it was good enough for Fraulein Maria in “The Sound of Music” it’s good enough for me.
  9. “The Way You Look Tonight” – – “Someday, when I’m awfully low, and the world is cold, I will feel a glow just thinking of you…and the way you look tonight.” (especially for those of us who live far away from our grands…)
  10. “10,000 Reasons- Bless The Lord”  – One of my few favorite contemporary worship songs. But who can beat these words? “The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning, it’s time to sing Your praise again. Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes…bless the Lord O my soul…”

keepcalmsingWhat are YOU singing these days?

under the mercy, Cindy

So sing! The song of rejoicing softens hard hearts. Happy praises offered in simplicity and love lead the faithful to complete harmony, without discord. Don’t stop singing. (Hildegarde, 12th century)

 ©2014 Lucinda Secrest McDowell

 NOTE: Did you enjoy this blog? If so, would you consider entering your email in the above right form and subscribing to it by email? I assure you I won’t overload your in-box, but would love to send you these ‘encouraging words’ each Wednesday. Thanks!

This entry was posted in 1. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to My 10 Favorite Songs to Sing to Children!

  1. maggierowe says:

    Cindy, what a fun post! I so enjoyed seeing the photos and reading the list. I need to expand my repertoire beyond Mockingbird! Have some great books I’ll be sending you for your new starring role as Granny to Saoirse.

  2. Thanks Maggie! Since you are a whole year ahead of me in this whole grandmothering role, I am open to anything I can learn….

  3. Connie Clements says:

    Beside I Love You a Bushel and a Peck,, You Are My Sunshine, It’s Bubbling in My Heart, The Itsy Bitsy Spider, I always sing The Little Bitty Seed by Dan Wittemore (and have since I taught 18-month olders at our church way back then. Another one they all love (and we sometimes use it for grace, is the Johnny Appleseed song. We’ll sing some of these plus some camps (like Joe In The Bottom Factory) ad nauseum at our cousins camp for the 12 grandkids at the end of August.

  4. Thanks Connie, for these GREAT suggestions. How else will our grands learn all these wonderful camp songs from days gone by…? So impressed that you and Nancie do a grandparents/cousins camp. I told Nancie that by the time I have enough grands to do a camp, they will be the ones taking care of me! Keep Singing!

  5. dayle says:

    I love this, Cindy. I’m about to become a grandmother for the first time (February) and I’m fairly over the moon already.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s