Singing soothes babies, supports their development, and strengthens the connection between parent and baby.

Why do it?

  • Lullabies and Oriori are traditional to most cultures. They’re a way of passing on beliefs and knowledge.
  • Baby knows your voice and will be soothed and reassured by hearing you sing or hum.
  • Singing to baby helps them to learn language.
  • If you sing and rock or sway with baby in your arms, they may be reminded of the time before birth. This will introduce baby to rhythm and dance.

How to do it

  • A lullaby is supposed to be soothing, so choose a song that is not too ‘interesting’.
  • A helpful formula is ‘repeat to soothe’ — so be ready to sing the lullaby over and over, getting slower and softer.
  • If you sang to baby before they were born, that might be the best song to sing, as baby is already familiar with it.
  • ‘Moe moe pēpi’ is in Whakatipu booklet Te Pihinga 1 (page 9), and you can hear it on the Whakatipu page of the Tākai website too.
  • If your whānau has a traditional lullaby/oriori, that would be wonderful for baby to hear.
  • Softly humming can work for some parents and babies.
  • For more lullabies, visit the Bussongs website.(external link)
Waiata mai Sing to me
Waiata-a-ringa Action songs
Menemene Smile
Paki paki Clap clap
E oho Wake up
Haramai, e te tau! Come here my darling!
Tō ātaahua hoki! You’re so beautiful
Kua oho mai koe You’re awake
Kaua e tangi, e te tau Don’t cry my darling
Ka mirimiri au i tō tuarā I’ll rub your back
Me moe koe. You should go to sleep
Takoto Lie down
Turitruri tō waha Be quiet
Katia mai ō karu Close your eyes
Homai te kihi Give me a kiss
Homai te awhi Give me a cuddle
Moemoeā Dream
Moenga Bed

Waiata mai

Singing soothes tamariki and builds their brain. Check out our waiata section for more than 100 songs for tamariki and pēpi, including songs in Pacific languages and te reo Māori.

Find songs and rhymes
Mother plays guitar with her daughter