Intersection of Life and Faith

10 Reasons Your Kids Need You to Rest

  • Lindsey Brady
10 Reasons Your Kids Need You to Rest

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

Now that I’m at the age where the majority of my friends have children, including two stepdaughters of my own, I’ve come to realize that a well-rested parent is rare to find.

Too often, we’re run down from work, buried under to-do lists at home, and concerned that one day our children will be sitting on a couch telling their therapist how much their parents didn’t do.

But what if I told you that one of the best things we can give our children is a well-rested parent? I know giving ourselves some peace and quiet, often away from our children, seems counterintuitive to providing for their needs. But taking time to recharge your batteries is going to enhance your parenting superpowers. So, here are the top 10 reasons why your kids need you to rest.

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  • 1. They Rely on You for Everything

    1. They Rely on You for Everything

    Slide 1 of 10

    Kids rely on you for everything. I’m not just talking about the five and under crowd, either. I have two older elementary kids, and they still need help with a lot. Yes—I’m not tying their shoes for them anymore, but I’m checking homework, making dinner, and finding all the things that seem to disappear and then reappear when a pair of mom-eyes are looking.

    If you let yourself live in a state of constant exhaustion, you’re not going to be able to help your kids well. You might scrape by on the bare minimum (who hasn’t done that before?!), but it’s not a good support system for your child if you’re living life at the bare minimum.

    By finding ways to make time for rest, like using—gasp!—store-bought cookies for their bake sale instead of baking a homemade pie, you’re going to be able to support your kiddos better across the board.

    Photo credit: ©Pexels/JoshWillink

  • 1. They Rely on You for Everything

    2. Tiredness Increases Forgetfulness

    Slide 2 of 10

    I don’t know about you, but when I’m tired, I can’t remember anything to save my life. Even when I feel like I’m absolutely rocking it, I realize that I forgot to pick up half the groceries I need for dinner, I didn’t pay the electric bill, and I forgot to bring oranges for the halftime snack.

    While it’s evident that being well-rested is going to help you remember things, we’re stuck in a bit of a problem. As our to-do list grows, our rest tends to wane. And as our rest wanes, we forget more on our to-do list.

    The truth of the matter is, being a parent is exhausting. We don’t have as much time as we used to, and eight hours of sleep hasn’t happened since 2007. So while we might not be able to sleep in late, we can try to squeeze in 15 minutes to rest. That might be just enough to reboot your brain.

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  • 1. They Rely on You for Everything

    3. You're Better Engaged When Well-Rested

    Slide 3 of 10

    I have a few favorite games to play with kids when I’m tired, and they all include me pretending to sleep or something similar. And to be completely honest, that’s if I even have the energy to play a game. A lot of times, my kiddos will have an impromptu movie session instead.

    Now, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with either of my strategies. I think each holds its own glorious place in a parent’s arsenal. But I don’t want to be the type of parent who is always pushing their kids away. I want them to look back on their childhood and remember game nights, playing tag at the park, or going for hikes. To do that, though, I need to make sure I’m resting when I can to show up better for my kids.

    Photo credit: ©Thinkstock/Sinenkiy

  • 1. They Rely on You for Everything

    4. It's Holy

    Slide 4 of 10

    God knew people weren’t cut out for the never-ceasing, never-sleeping lifestyle. He gave us specific instructions to rest so we can recharge our batteries, and be more even-tempered people. You guys—even the Creator of the entire universe rested. He intentionally created a Sabbath day to teach us to relax as well. All this to say, resting is holy.

    The great news is that taking a moment to pause also gives us an opportunity to reconnect with God. When are bombarded by pressing issues throughout the day, like a hungry toddler or a kiddo running for the front door without pants on, we sometimes forget to make time for God. When we take time to rest, we carve out intentional time to listen to the Holy Spirit. Plus, demonstrating quiet time with the Lord is an excellent example to set for your children.

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  • 1. They Rely on You for Everything

    5. You're Leading by Example

    Slide 5 of 10

    Children learn more by the example you set for them than from what you tell them to do. If all you do is work, you’re communicating to them that life is all about your occupation. That’s why it’s critical for kids to see that their parents relax. It’s the only way they will learn that’s it’s okay for them to relax, too.

    By demonstrating a life that includes rest, you’re teaching them that life is about balance. You can work hard, and you can rest hard. If you are just on the go all the time, there’s a strong chance you are going to raise a child who also needs to be busy at all times. Do your child (and yourself) a favor and rest!

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  • 1. They Rely on You for Everything

    6. You're More Emotional When Tired

    Slide 6 of 10

    I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a borderline basket case when I’m tired. I’ll cry at the tiniest things, like an Instagram story that isn’t actually all that sad or inspiring.

    It’s completely okay (even encouraged!) for children to see your authentic emotions. But when those emotions turn into snapping at your children for minor issues, it’s a clear-cut sign that you are too tired. To be frank, it’s really unfair for a child to have to deal with your rollercoaster emotions. It’s confusing and upsetting to them.

    Now don’t get me wrong: all parents have moments we’re not proud of. We snap and say something we don’t mean, usually because of stress or exhaustion. You don’t need to beat yourself up over this. It happens to all parents. Just pick yourself up, apologize to your children, and show them how to handle a meltdown appropriately.

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  • 1. They Rely on You for Everything

    7. Parental Burnout is Real

    Slide 7 of 10

    People don’t question when you experience exhaustion at work, in ministry, or at the gym. So why is it so hard to believe that parental burnout is real?

    Parenting is a tough job. You are a cook, a chauffeur, a cleaner, an emotional counselor, and a schedule manager, on top of many other things. You get no paid vacation time, there aren’t sick days, and you are on-call 24/7.

    If an employer expected half as much as your children do, you’d quit in a week. Instead, you lovingly tuck your kid back into bed at 3 in the morning, for the seventh day in a row.

    But to avoid the dreaded parental burnout, you need to rest. Make time for yourself throughout your day that can keep you going. Find time weekly to spend a little more time on yourself. Take an extra long hot shower, read a book, or take a nap.

    Photo credit: ©Thinkstock/vadimguzhva

  • 1. They Rely on You for Everything

    8. Handling Last-Minute Requests

    Slide 8 of 10

    I have a midterm project due on Friday that I need your help with.

    I told my coach you’d drive carpool to the game this week.

    Can you quiz me for my big science test tomorrow?

    Kids are notorious for sending last-minute requests your way. Some of them will be ridiculous, like baking 10 dozen cookies for a bake sale, and some will be more reasonable, like helping them with school work they just aren’t quite getting. If you are well rested, you’ll better be able to handle these requests.

    But let’s get one thing straight: it’s okay to tell your kids no sometimes. This is especially true when they’ve had a month to work on a project, volunteered your time without asking you first, or need to take personal responsibility for their actions.

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  • 1. They Rely on You for Everything

    9. Rest = Patience

    Slide 9 of 10

    Yes, you’ve answered the same exact question three dozen times in the last hour. No, the questions don’t show any sign of ending. Yeah, that even includes when you’re in the bathroom.

    Questions aren’t the only patience pusher, either.

    Your house is littered with toys and socks, despite just having picked everything up. Your preteen is incessantly bargaining on topics you’ve made clear you’re not budging on. There are the angsty teenage years that feature eye rolls and door slams on repeat.

    But your secret weapon to making it through these frustrating situations is to increase your patience (easier said than done, I know).  One surefire way to do that is to make sure you’re rested.  You’ll be able to pause before you react and respond in love and with grace. 

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  • 1. They Rely on You for Everything

    10. You're a Person, Too

    Slide 10 of 10

    When you get married and have children, it’s easy for your identity to become wrapped up in your family. I understand this. These are the people you genuinely love and care about. However, the only person who your identity should be in is God.

    Part of the identity God has given you is a divine calling on your life. This could be a job, hobbies, or interests. Your divine calling could even be your family and kids, too. But no matter the plan for your life, God is going to need you to rest from time to time in order to accomplish it.

    It’s vital for your kids to understand that even when you’re married or have children, you’re still a child of God who is seeking His will for your life.

    Lindsey Brady is a wife and stepmother who loves to spend time in nature or going for long runs. When she's feeling a bit more sedentary, she'll watch an entire season of any Food Network show in a single sitting. You can follow her on Instagram at real.slim.brady.

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