11 Beloved Nursery Rhymes That Kids Should Never Hear

Ericka Sóuter | Feb 25, 2013 Being a Mom
11 Beloved Nursery Rhymes That Kids Should Never Hear

jack and jill

On a rainy Saturday afternoon, my son and I were running around town and I could tell he was becoming more annoyed by the minute. I decided to liven things up with a sing-along. Since it was raining, I started with, what else: "It's raining, it's pouring. The old man is snoring. He went to bed with a lump on his head and didn't --" But I abruptly stopped in the middle of that verse. Wait. What? I never really thought about it before, but this dude "didn't get up in the morning." Does that mean he died?

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I quickly changed the lyric to something lame like, "He didn't want to go to work in the morning." To which my son piped, "That's not right." But I didn't want to sing about death and dying to a 4-year-old. It's just too weird. But when I really started to think about it, so many of our favorite childhood songs are totally terrifying. From death, violence, to some very strange stories about gender relations, take a look at the 11 creepiest nursery rhymes we sing to our kids. Who came up with this stuff and why do we keep signing it?

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What other nursery rhymes should be on this list? And more importantly, how should we talk to our kids about the rhymes that already exist? Let us know!

Image via Amazon

  • Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep


    Image via caddy_corner/Flickr


    Now I lay me down to sleep,
    I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
    If I shall die before I wake,
    I pray the Lord my soul to take. Amen.

    - I said this every night as a child. It's a wonder I didn't have nightmares about not waking up ever again.

  • Alouette


    Alouette, gentille alouette,
    Alouette, je te plumerai.
    Je te plumerai la tête. Je te plumerai la tête.
    Et la tête! Et la tête!
    Alouette! Alouette!

    The terrifying translation:

    Lark, nice lark,
    Lark, I will pluck you.
    I will pluck your head. I will pluck your head.
    And your head! And your head!
    Lark! Lark!

  • Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater


    Image via RichardBowen/Flickr


    Peter Peter pumpkin eater
    Had a wife and couldn't keep her
    He put her in a pumpkin shell
    And there he kept her very well!

    - Yikes! He's basically holding her hostage.

  • Three Blind Mice


    Image via angeladellatorre/Flickr


    Three blind mice, three blind mice,
    See how they run, see how they run,
    They all ran after the farmer's wife,
    Who cut off their tails with a carving knife,
    Did you ever see such a thing in your life,
    As three blind mice?

    - I'm no fan of mice, but this is pretty violent.

  • Georgie Porgie


    Image via abbybatchelder/Flickr


    Georgie Porgie pudding and pie
    Kissed the girls and made them cry.
    When the boys came out to play,
    Georgie Porgie ran away.

    - Well, if you think about it, this will teach girls early on that guys can be jerks.

  • Jack and Jill


    Image via Amazon


    Jack and Jill went up the hill
    To fetch a pail of water.
    Jack fell down and broke his crown,
    And Jill came tumbling after.

    - Hello! Jack broke his head. His head!

  • Sing a Song of Sixpence


    Image via jipe_dk/Flickr


    Sing a song of sixpence a pocket full of rye,
    Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie.
    When the pie was opened the birds began to sing,
    Oh wasn't that a dainty dish to set before the king?
    The king was in his counting house counting out his money,
    The queen was in the parlour eating bread and honey
    The maid was in the garden hanging out the clothes,
    When down came a blackbird and pecked off her nose!

    - Snapped off her nose? Who wrote this -- Alfred Hitchcock?

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  • Rock-a-Bye-Baby


    Image via Kazutaka NAKANO/Flickr


    Rock-a-bye baby, in the treetop
    When the wind blows, the cradle will rock.
    When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall
    And down will come baby, cradle and all.

    - So, you can imagine what happens if a baby really falls out of a tree. Totally morbid!

  • Ring-a-Round a Rosie


    Image via thejbird/Flickr


    Ring-a-round a rosie,
    A pocket full of posies,
    Ashes! Ashes! We all fall down.

    - This ditty is actually about the Plague.

  • London Bridge Is Falling Down


    Image via jimmyharris/Flickr

    London Bridge is falling down,
    Falling down, falling down.
    London Bridge is falling down,
    My fair lady.

    - So if the bridge is crumbling into the water, doesn't that mean cars full of people are too?

  • Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe


    Image via Amazon


    There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
    She had so many children, she didn't know what to do.
    She gave them some broth without any bread
    Then whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.

    - Jeez. Why did she beat her hungry children? Talk about Mommy Dearest.


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