Sammy Sings the Shema

As I’ve posted on here before, our bedtime routine is pretty typical – bath, pjs, stories, songs, lights out. While the pjs and the stories chosen might vary each night, the songs never do.

Each night, the request is the same: first, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” (no, I’m not kidding; he actually wants to hear this EVERY night); second, the Shema; third, “La La Lu” (the lullaby from Lady and the Tramp).

Lately Sam has started to sing the songs with me. I know he doesn’t fully understand it yet, but I love that Sam is already starting to “pray” with me at night. I hope his “bedtime song” helps to open the door for him to easily talk to G-d as he grows.

If you incorporate prayers into your evening routine, when did your kids start saying them with you? When do you think they started to understand that they were more than just words or pretty tunes?

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6 thoughts on “Sammy Sings the Shema

  1. Right now my son is too little, but i had posted before about this. We sing Twinkle Twinkle Cochavim (stars) high up in the Shemayim, when we say the Shemah today everything will be ok, when we say the Shemah tonight, everything will be alright”. then we sing the Shemah (ok i do). Then for now, I pray for him, the family and anyone else. I’m hoping the routine will help him learn to pray to G-d and talk to Him.

  2. We also sing the Shemah every night (although it’s one my son doesn’t sing along to yet, he’s 2 1/2.). He generally sings the first two songs with his daddy and I. First and 2nd lullabies are his choice, 3rd is always Shemah, followed by Lullabye and Goodnight. Maybe in a year or two he can end with praying? Not sure which age would be appropriate to introduce this.

  3. When Sammy was four we started to sing Hashkivenu, which is the pray said in the evening thanking God for the day and the night and rest. I sing it to him and then he sings it to me. We each sing the Hebrew and then we made up our own English part wishing each other peaceful dreams and restful sleep. We started using this prayer because it is one of our favorite prays sung at Friday evening services and because, at the time, Sammy had some nightmares and this was a way to tell the bad dreams to stay away. Sammy is now almost 8 and four years later we are still singing Hashkivenu every night. It is one of my favorite parts of the day!

  4. When my children were young, we always included Shema as part of their bed-time routine (for my son, this included reading “Cowboy Small”). This is how he learned the Shema & V’ahavta by heart. When my grandmother died, we were at my parents’ home for minyan. When the Cantor began the Shema, my then 3-year-old called out “Just like at night-night time”. I think this is when my mother first began to realize that we COULD raise a Jewish child in an Interfaith family.

  5. When my daughter was 5, she asked if she could pray to Jesus at night like her friend does. That was when I started to say the Shema with her every night.
    Unfortunately, when the kids became teens, we stopped the ritual, because usually they went to bed later than me. And…they were too old to be ‘tucked in’.
    Hopefully, they will do the same with thier kids someday.

  6. Wow, thanks, y’all! Chana-Esther, I’ve sung your version of Twinkle Twinkle a few times to Sam – he loves it! I think it will become a regular in the rotation quite soon! And now, thanks to all of the wonderful comments, I’ll have even more songs and prayers up my sleeve as he gets older!

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