Bismillah ( In the name of God)
Dear Readers ,
Thank you all for reading my first post. I hope it benefits you in some way. Please feel free to contact me if you are in need of someone to discuss this topic with in more detail.
As a convert, I was a little intimidated about the idea of teaching my kids about my religion , because I didn’t grow up with it. Many things are still new to me as well. In addition, I didn’t grow up with any particular strong religious traditions. “Where do I start ?” is always a question that comes to my mind. I believe that I am on the road to figuring this out. I wanted to share some tips that have personally been successful with my children. My children are still very young but I believe these tips could possibly help older children as well.
1) Teach Through Example
Our children notice everything about us, even when we do not think they are paying attention. For example, I remember the first time my son started to imitate me praying. He was around 15 months old at the time. Once after I prayed, he went to my prayer rug and started prostrating , moving his finger and whispering to himself. I never thought that he was paying attention to me, but in reality he was studying every little detail, even the movement of my finger! When we begin to consistently pray, listen to or reading the Quran, use religious phrases, perform good deeds, and living Islamic manners and morals, they will view this as a normal part of life. In reality, sometimes I fail at this but picking one action that I can be consistent with is better than nothing because they will still notice.
2) Use a language that he is comfortable with when making supplications (dua).
I want to teach my sons to build a connection with their creator. I want them to talk to the Lord in a way they are comfortable and can express their emotions freely. I want them to call on Allah when they have a bad dream or are feeling upset . I want them to talk in a way that they can pour his their out. This is why I have not chosen to start them out on memorizing supplications in Arabic. Will we be teaching them Arabic? Yes, but its more important to us for them to understand what they are saying and build the emotional connection before anything else. So when we wake up we say things like, ” Thank You Allah for giving me life.” or when we hear a siren we say. ” Allah, please help those who may be hurt and suffering in this world.”
3) myDeen magazine
myDeen magazines are amazing. They have Islamic topics presented in fun ways for kids of all ages. You can go to their website, https://mydeen.club/ for more information about what content they offer and how to subscribe. The people behind this magazine are extremely kind and talk to everyone in a friendly manner.They are very quick to respond to your questions as well. I really believe that they are worth the investment.
My sons enjoy books and listening to stories. For books about Islam, I choose a time of the day where I know that they would be more focused and willing to sit with me and listen to a story. For my sons, that is before bed or while they are eating. Amazon.com has an amazing selection of Islamic books. You can even preview most of them before you by them. You can also search your local library’s website and place some books on hold. I will create a separate post on the Islamic books that my sons like.
You can always find a way to mention Allah and discuss him or talk about Islamic manners. For example, when you are out walking and you feel a gush of wind you can talk about how Allah made the wind or when you are home watching TV with your child and they are talking about something like dinosaurs, you can mention something like, ” Isn’t so amazing how Allah made those dinosaurs?” or ” Did you know that animal is mentioned in the Quran?”. You can touch a leaf or a stick and say something like ,” See how Allah made some things rough and some things smooth?” or ” Isn’t it amazing that Allah is the only one who made all of these things ?”. The possibilities are endless. When you pick situations that really interest them, it will really stick to them.
6) Activities and Play
There are numerous crafts related to Islam on Pintrest or Instagram. You don’t even necessarily have to pick a special , “Islamic craft”, you can choose any craft and find a way to make a religious lesson out of it. During play time you can get down on the floor with your kid and try to find a way to make one of the figurines do something in an Islamic manner like helping the other figurines. You can even use activity and play time to just play the Quran and Islamic songs. Again, the possibilities are endless with this , just use your best judgement.
7) Make a Huge Deal out of Islamic Holidays
Explain the holidays to them. Create your own traditions and fun activities. This will be a nice way for them to learn their identity as Muslims as well. I have a few new things I am planning this year for Ramadan and the Eids. I will make a separate post about that.
8) Attend Islamic Events or simply take them to play at a mosque playgrounds
Check your local mosque or Facebook pages for things like Muslim moms groups, play dates, kids activities, or even simply take them to a mosque playground. This will give them a connection to the Islamic community. They will also get a chance to experience the diversity of Islam.
9) Put Emphasis on Islamic phrases
I always make sure that my sons hear the phrases, ” Salam Alaykum, Bismillah”, ” Alhamdulilah” , “Allahu Akhbar etc. Honestly, at first these phrases didn’t come naturally for me all the time. Therefore, I had had to push myself to use them more. Making sure my kids hear them, has motivated me a lot as well. I’ve discovered that using puppets is a very effective way for them to learn these phrases as well. You can create any scenario and use it as a learning tool.
10) Ask other parents
Never feel to shy to ask what other parents do with their families. I have learned so much from other parents on this topic. There are also numerous blogs, Instagram and Pintrest pages created by parents to help others come up with some ideas and offer support.