What I listen to when rocking my kids to sleep

I can’t count the number of hours I have spent rocking my daughters to sleep. And if I’m honest, I’m afraid to calculate it, because the number will be HIGH. I’m sure you’re the same (unless you have some kind of magic babies that go to sleep with zero input).

For the longest time, I used to view this all too much as an annoyance. I mean, I love my kids so much, and I will do anything to help them sleep. But I would always bemoan the hours of sleep/adult conversation/downtime that I have lost to the abyss of parenting.

Until one night, when I was so bleary I nearly fell asleep standing up, I realised something. I could get out my phone, some earphones, and WATCH SOMETHING. Oh my goodness! I think I settled for trolling YouTube for the half-hour I was up.

As this became a more regular occurrence, I have honed in a bit more on some things that I’ve found useful to listen to. Some of them are encouraging things for my walk with Jesus, some of them a bit of comic relief that soothes my irritable self after being awoken yet again by my child. Here’s my list:

  1. The Bible Project. Now, this is a finite resource, but these videos are SO GOOD. I have watched some of them over and over again, learning more about how a certain book of the Bible fits together, or about themes running through the Bible. If you’ve never seen any of these videos before, it’s basically the bible being explained by incredibly eye-catching animations illustrating the points. Go there now, thank me later. (They have a YouTube channel also if you prefer)
  2. News/Talk shows. I don’t do this much anymore, but for a while, this was how I updated myself on what was going on in the world. Talk shows appealed to me because I got a bit of news (obviously extremely opinionated source), but they were usually funny to listen to as well.
  3. Audiobooks. If you have an Audible or Christian Audio subscription, you can get one or more audiobooks per month for about $16 AUD. I have gotten through some incredibly long but fascinating novels, books like C.S. Lewis’s “Screwtape Letters”, and other Christian literature. My pro-tip is to listen to the excerpt of the audiobook before you purchase that one, as sometimes the narrator can make or break.
  4. QI. Have you ever seen the show QI (Quite Interesting)? If not, it’s basically a panel of four comedians who are all asked questions about interesting things (history, geography, biology, etc.) and they just say funny things for half an hour. (Previously hosted by Stephen Fry, now by Sandy Toksvig) There’s a whole bunch of short clips on YouTube which I found semi-addictive for a while. I like funny things, and learning things, so that was quite good too.
  5. Sermon catch-up. This is better for during the day, because at 2 am I’m usually too tired to focus on anything other than comedy or narrative. If you podcast your church’s sermons, or there’s an online preacher you like listening to, you can often sneak in a bit of extra listening time.

This is just a few that I’m writing from recent memory, I’m sure there are more things that would be worthwhile to listen to or watch while rocking your kids. Also, FYI, wireless earphones made this so much easier!

Just to warn you though—it probably won’t work to watch something if your kid’s eyes are open—they get distracted!


Malcolm Purdey is a Christian, husband, father, student minister and science nerd. He completed a PhD in Chemistry and worked as a research scientist before making the jump into ministry in early 2017. He has been married for 5 years and has two daughters aged 3 and 1.

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