How Can You Rest With Young Kids?

Can you rest, or how to rest with young kids? This one’s important for two reasons. One, we talk a lot about rest on family teams, on five minute fatherhood, on homeroom, on everything you see from us crafting a rest/work rhythm is deeply important for a million different reasons. But then the inevitable question is how do you do that with young kids? And my short answer is I don’t know. I’m still trying to figure that out because it’s not very restful when you want to sit down and read a book and maybe have a nice little drink and do this, and then you literally have kids climbing on your head, breaking your neck, you have to go to the chiropractor the next day. They’re yelling, they’re screaming, et cetera. Now of course that’s just a joke, but it is something that we do have to practice and that’s what me and Alyssa have realized is it’s not like …

Here’s what I was saying before I asked Jeremy. I want to hear Jeremy’s answer because like I said, I actually don’t know. But one thing I’ll say that we have learned is it doesn’t go well if you kind of have this weird fantasized version of rest. Meaning if you kind of have this ideal of it’s going to just be perfect and ideal and butterflies and quiet and then it doesn’t turn into that because then you usually get angry and frustrated and and tense, et cetera. When in reality it’s like, no, no, what is restful? What we’ve had to learn is we actually have to train that direction. We have to train towards a restful moment or a restful day. We have to train towards giving them the tools to have quiet time, individual time so that we can as well.

And so yeah, there’s a couple other different things, but I would say that is the first one is it’s not going to happen by accident. You have to train towards time of rest and it’s deeply important for you to be able to breathe, to be able to have margin, to be able to fill up when you have little kids. And so we’ve done that with our sleep schedule. As you guys know, we’ve talked about before. We do that with nap time and we do that with some kind of structured quiet time as well. But yeah, Jeremy, what would you say to this?

Yeah, I totally agree. I think you guys need to understand how much energy you have. So for April and I, were both very introverted, we have five kids. So for us it was absolutely critical that we trained our kids to be able to rest during these two periods of the day. One was in the early afternoon and then obviously the one was their bedtime where they were able to stay in bed and really give us time in the evening. Depending on where you’re at from an energy perspective, I know that some of you guys are really high energy people and can just play around with your kids a lot. Some of you guys are low energy people when it comes to … You really need to be recharged, you need seasons and times of real rest. And so wherever you’re at in that spectrum, especially if you’re kind of where April and I are at, man, I cannot emphasize enough the critical nature of training your kids for those two kind of rest periods.

And a lot of times even … We tell … A lot of parents are like, “Well my kids stopped napping when they were three years old.” It’s okay to train your kids to have an hour of R$R. Take rest and relaxation. That can take a lot of training and it’s worth it. And so we talk a lot about how to train kids in the skill of fatherhood. A lot of times it does not happen by accident and so there are tools you need to develop. We use something called blanket time, which we talk a lot about in 31 Creative Ways to Build a Family Team. But there’s a … Basically we created a time where we would slowly train our kids to play quietly with a few toys, even at two or three years old when we put down this blanket to give us this time of peace.

And so we really had these three tools. We trained our kids to relax in the middle of the day for at least an hour or two, and oftentimes they just napped during that time. But to stay in that quiet space, to really stay in their beds and to go to bed, that takes training. Don’t think that’s going to happen immediately. That’s going to be a challenge for a lot of kids. And then anytime we … The third one is anytime we needed just 15 minutes of just peace in the house, we would use the blanket time tool for that.

So it takes tools, it takes training, and if this is a big deal for you, if you find that you’re just tapping out and getting really frustrated and finding that the low energy is really taking over your home, taking over your parenting, then redirect a lot of that attention from surviving and just sort of getting through the day to training your kids during certain periods to know how to rest and relax. And I know that’s a process and that’s hard and kids are different. But that’s definitely one way to think about how to really make sure that you’re getting some of the rest that you need.

Totally. And one last thing I’ll say is this guys. That you have to. It’s worth it. This one is one of the biggest ROIs, I think, of crafting a home that is peaceful. Crafting a home that has restful. Still is active and still there’s mission and we’re doing things, et cetera. But peaceful and … And here’s the thing. Peace doesn’t happen by the absence of conflict, but even in scripture we see with chaos and the primordial waters over the very first verse of scripture. And then God has to actively create order and peace and Shalom and blessing. So you kind of have to actively create it. And it takes that mentality and it takes that vision rather than just thinking it’s going to happen by accident or reactionary by just saying, don’t do that. Don’t do that. Don’t do that. You have to craft it and go towards it, but we promise you guys it is worth it.

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