Any parent will tell you that peace & rest are precious gifts, essential to keeping a sane house and happy children.
Whether that peace & rest comes in the form of a nap, quiet time, or peaceful activities enjoyed with your child, every child should be bestowed with the skills necessary to rest and seek solace in quiet time.
However, that’s easier said than done! Rather than limiting a child during rest or peace time, we can instead engage and entice them to peaceful activities that help them learn self-regulation. Rather than focusing on “not making noise,” we can encourage them to “make silence.”
For Christians, encouraging our children to seek peace & rest is also tied into the concept of “keeping the Sabbath,” which does not just have to be a weekly practice, and in fact, the Bible encourages us to seek rest, and in rest, seek God.
Let’s look at some Bible passages that refer to rest (and I’ll provide some free scripture printables at the bottom of this post):
Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts.
By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.
Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.
And I say, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.
There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. (Jesus rested)
“…Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
As you can see, rest & peace are encouraged in a few situations:
- regularly scheduled intervals, like the Sabbath day
- after working hard
- when experiencing difficulties
- when we are anxious or experiencing emotions beyond our control
How do I encourage my child to seek peace & rest?
Noise and activity are fun, and much more attractive than peace & rest. Many parents think of providing peace & rest as removing all stimulation, but what about instead providing peace-building activities that are attractive and encourage contemplation & rest?
I am a big fan of having a peace corner set up in the home, providing calming and tactile materials that children can engage with in order to relax and unite their hearts, hands, and minds.
Some of my favourite hands-on ways to encourage peace & rest include:
- Pocket Labyrinths
Full-scale labyrinths have been used in religious contemplation for centuries, they engage the body, stimulate cross-hemispheric thinking, and are symbolic of finding one’s center
- Busy Bags or Bible-inspired activities
For our purposes, I would steer away from education-based busy bags, in favour of ones that reflect on Bible stories or concepts
- Flower Arranging
Explore the beauty of God’s creation by flower arranging, or exploring a nature table
- Bible story audio CDs
Children can lie down or curl up in a reading nook while listening, relaxing their bodies while engaging their minds and spirits
- the Montessori Silence Game
I wrote a post explaining it (and my variation) here, and this beautiful video from Planting Peas shows the Silence Game “in action”
My Number 1 Tip to Encourage Rest & Peace
Pray with your children.
It may sound boring and uninspired, but for many children, “going through the motions” of Christian worship can be the first step towards a fulfilling and passionate relationship with God.
Intentionally set out times for prayer every day, and rather than always reaching for discipline when your child is acting up, try encouraging them to pray to God about what is bothering them. Make a habit of turning to prayer when your child feels overwhelmed or upset.
Free Scripture Printables on Rest & Peace:
*Click the graphic below to bring up a larger version, save to your computer and print.
This is Day 7 in our Hands-on Learning about Creation Series. You can see the other posts here:
What Are Your Tips for Encouraging Peace & Rest with Children?
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