Singing at Bedtime

“There was never a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him to sleep.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

For the past few months, we’ve begun developing something of a family bedtime routine, and it’s something that’s become pretty special to me. In the previous five and a half years of Oliver’s life, my husband and I took turns with bedtime. Not trading off each night or anything, but I’d do bedtime for a few weeks, then he’d pick it up and I’d have a break. For the first two years of Oliver’s life, I nursed him before bed too, so I have made sure to bring that up if Chad ever complained. (I also don’t hesitate to bring up the nine months of pregnancy if I have to.)

We’ve always prayed with Oliver before he goes to sleep, and we’ve read– sometimes the Bible, sometimes the Jesus Story Book Bible, sometimes out of a read-aloud like The Mouse and the Motorcycle (Chad’s read that one to him twice, what a champ!), or something by E.B. White, or the Chronicles of Narnia.

But this winter, we began doing bedtime together, the three of us– “our little family,” Oliver calls us–and we incorporated singing together into the mix, and I love it. We sing a few songs each night, and usually one of them is “Peter and John went to Pray” or “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” because those are the songs Oliver feels most confident singing. But we’ve taught him many many others (most are slightly more introspective), and sometimes when I’ve stayed in there as he falls asleep, I’ll keep singing quietly and I’m always amazed at how many songs I know by heart– most from growing up listening to my dad lead worship for years.

Honestly? These quiet times of singing as beautifully and perfectly as I can for my son and my King are the some of the only times I feel like I am actually worshiping my Lord in song. Sunday morning gatherings are a complete distraction for me– I feel like I’m in Public, and it’s terribly difficult for me to do intimate things in public.  Because I am trained as a singer, I focus on my technique more than communicating the things in my heart– and most of the time I don’t even know what’s going on in my heart because I’m so distracted by the Public. It’s not that way with my child– who sees me as I am, 24/7.

So what I’m saying is, I have a feeling that it will be special for Oliver to remember singing with his mama and daddy each night before bed, but it’s really been special for me, as this has been an outlet for my voice and all the songs I know by heart.

Some of the songs I love to sing….

Be Thou My Vision

How Great Thou Art

Amazing Grace (But Oliver is tired of this one now, and only requests it when he’s stalling, because he knows I’ll sing all four verses)


The Lord’s Prayer (Oliver has also learned to pray the Lord’s Prayer)

Give Me Jesus

O Come O Come Emmanuel

Before the Throne

Come Thou Fount

And…not to Jesus, specifically, but an offering of song nonetheless…

Over the Rainbow

The Girl I Mean to Be (from The Secret Garden– this song was written for me!)



Does your family sing together at bedtime (or any time)?

Even if you don’t think you’re the best singer, I bet your kids will never know…they secretly think you’re awesome.


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One thought on “Singing at Bedtime

  1. Hi, Rachel:)
    I’m Flo, and I’m also distracted by the Public. I’ve been reading here quietly and enjoying every post, but now, I can’t keep quiet anymore:)

    We worship together as a family, and my kids sing/play instruments together, but we’ve never sang together at bedtime (though my little ones like when I make songs up for them as they fall to sleep.)

    Love, love this ritual you’ve been doing! And to use your gift, and to be able to worship at the same time? Wow.

    Thank you for sharing it with us.

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