Taraweeh with Toddlers: What it has in common with the five stages of grief.

Taraweeh with Toddlers: What it has in common with the five stages of grief.

Ramadan is a time for spiritual reflection, self-improvement, and increased worship. For most Muslims, this includes attending taraweeh prayers at the mosque. And for parents of young children, taraweeh can be a whole other ballgame. Trying to pray with a toddler in tow can feel like a Herculean task, with distractions aplenty and a constant battle to keep them quiet. In this post, we’ll take a humorous look at the five stages of grief parents may experience while attempting taraweeh with toddlers. So if you’ve ever found yourself chasing your little one around the prayer hall instead of focusing on your worship, this one’s for you.

  1. Denial: You’re excited for Taraweeh with your toddler. You want to raise them to be people who are connected to salah. You’ve got the snacks, the toys, and water, and everything else you need to keep them entertained for the next hour or so. You confidently walk into the mosque, feeling like a super mom. “This is going to be a piece of cake,” you tell yourself.
  2. Anger: Three minutes into the first rakah, your toddler starts getting antsy. They start kicking and chatting and pulling the hijab of others or climb the back of others in sujood, and you feel your blood boil. “Why can’t they just sit still?!” you think to yourself. You start to get angry at your toddler, at yourself, and at the entire situation.
  3. Bargaining: You start bargaining with your toddler. “If you sit still for just one more rakah, I’ll give you a whole bag of sweets” you plead. You remind them of boundaries set before but they don’t seem to remember. You try everything to get them to calm down and behave, but nothing seems to work.
  4. Depression: At this point, you’ve given up. You’re feeling defeated and depressed. You look around the mosque and see other parents with their well-behaved children, and you can’t help but feel like a failure. The glaring eyes dont make it any easier and you start to wonder if you’re a bad parent and if you’ll ever be able to enjoy Taraweeh again.
  5. Acceptance: Finally, after what feels like an eternity, Taraweeh ends. It is time for a deep breath of relief and you realize that you’ve made it through. You accept that Taraweeh with a toddler is just going to be difficult, and that’s okay. You smile and feel a sense of accomplishment knowing that you ALL survived.

Taraweeh with toddlers can sometimes feel like going through the five stages of grief. First comes denial, as you naively convince yourself that your little one will quietly sit through the lengthy prayers. Then comes anger, as your toddler decides to play peekaboo during the quietest parts of the night. Bargaining follows, as you try to bribe them with snacks and toys, only to have them throw a tantrum mid-rakah. Depression sets in as you realize you’re only on the second of eight or in some cases, twenty taraweeh raka’ats. And finally, acceptance, as you resign yourself to the fact that your taraweeh experience will involve chasing your child up and down the mosque. But hey, at least you’re burning some calories, right?

Just remember, you’re not alone. May Allah grant ease.

In the hadith about the those who will be under the shade of Allah on a day when there is no shade, two are most relevant here…

“A youth who grew up in the worship of Allah and one whose heart is attached to the mosques”

So this is the work.

And to whom it may concern, a reminder….

The Messenger ‎ﷺ said, “Those who do not have mercy for our young and respect for our elders is not of us.” [Tirmidhi]

Nana’s Ramadān Story: Ramadān with children

Nana’s Ramadān Story: Ramadān with children

The month of Ramadān was fast approaching and Nana, like most other Muslim mothers, was filled with a mix of joy and anxiety about having her children home for the month of Ramadan.

She wanted to make sure that the month was filled with special moments and memories that her children would cherish forever. She knew that it was her responsibility to create a Ramadan experience that her children would enjoy while also teaching them something valuable about their faith. 

To do this, Nana created a Ramadan plan that included activities and traditions that both she and her children could enjoy. She planned books, some cooking activities, special evening sessions, and fun activities that allowed her children to explore their faith in interesting and creative ways.

Nana also made sure that her children were aware of the significance of Ramadan. She explained to them the importance of fasting and the impact it can have on developing a sense of empathy and understanding for those less fortunate. She employed books and stories for that. She told them stories of Ramadān from her childhood. She prayed with them and listened to them.

By the end of the month, Nana was filled with a sense of accomplishment. She had managed to create a meaningful Ramadan experience for her children that was both enjoyable and educational. She was also grateful for the opportunity to introduce her children to Ramadān in a way that allowed them to embrace it in its entirety. 

Nana’s story serves as an encouraging reminder to all Muslim mothers that it is possible to make Ramadan a special and meaningful experience for their children. With a little planning and creativity, it’s possible to make a lasting impact on your children’s understanding and appreciation of Ramadan.

Getting children excited about Ramadān: Introducing the blessed month

Getting children excited about Ramadān: Introducing the blessed month

Ramadān is a very special month, and as parents, we want to share the blessings and importance of this holy month with our children. How do we explain the concept of fasting, prayer, and charitable giving to young children? To be honest, you would think you understand something until you are trying to explain it to a young child. May Allah ﷻ guide us.

Start early: One of the best ways to introduce Ramadān to children is to start early. It is not until they reach an actionable age that we inform them. This will give children plenty of time to learn about the importance of fasting, prayer, and charitable giving. It also serves to help them understand the expectations or flow of things. Also, make it personal. Share your own experiences of what it was like when you were young and explain what this month means to you through stories. Be aware of traditions you want to keep and traditions you want to start to build on. It is also important to explain it in a way that children can understand as it is not very easy to grasp. Also, as much as possible, use simple terms. A good underrated way of achieving this is by reading books about ramadan. A few favourites are;

  • Hassan and Aneesa love Ramadan
  • Under the Ramadan Sky
  • Ramadan Moon
  • What is Ramadan by Goodword
  • Ramadan round the world
  • Hassan and Aneesa celebrate Eid
  • The month of Ramadan is here
  • It’s Ramadan Curious George

A few places to shop for books are The Dotted Pearl, Meena’s Muslimart, Hadiya NG.

Make it fun: Learning about Ramadān doesn’t have to be boring! You can make it fun and engaging for children by incorporating fun activities into the learning process. For example, you can organize a Ramadān-themed scavenger hunt, decorate the home with Ramadān decorations, and again, books. For younger children, could make special Ramadān crafts together, like creating our own Ramadan calendars and for older children, can make fun projects and presentations.

Encourage Questions: Children are naturally curious, and they may have a lot of questions about Ramadān as they have about everything. Encourage them to ask questions and provide honest and straightforward answers. If you don’t know the answer to a question, do some research together, and learn something new! Encourage your children to ask questions about Ramadān and their religion. Answer their questions honestly and openly.

Lead by Example: This is the crux of our roles as parents. The best way to teach children about the importance of Ramadān is to show them. Let them see you fast and pray and engage with the Qur’an and do what is right and keep aside what is wrong. Let them see you improve, change and be your best self for Ramadān. Let them see you give out of what Allah has provided you as well. And show them Mercy, teach them that the month is one of mercy in your being merciful to them. And seek knowledge. Know more, unlearn certain traditions, relearn the sunnah and revive it in your homes.

Introducing Ramadan to children is an important part of of our roles as parents, and hopefully, we can make it can make it a fun and engaging experience for all our children. And In sha Allah we can help our child develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of this pillar of our faith.

Nurture Reads: The Power Of Showing Up

Nurture Reads: The Power Of Showing Up

As parents, we want the best for our children. We want them to be happy, healthy, and successful in all aspects of life. But how do we ensure that they grow up to be well-adjusted and emotionally resilient adults? According to “The Power of Showing Up” by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson, the simple answer is in our showing up for our children.

The book emphasizes the importance of being present and attuned to our children’s needs. It argues that by showing up for our children, we can help them develop a strong sense of self-worth, build healthy relationships, and learn important life skills. The authors provide concrete examples and practical advice on how parents can show up for their children, even when it’s difficult or inconvenient. And more and more, this is our situation. Life is happening and we do not have the time to allow our children feel in a healthy way because we are seemingly on a time crunch always.

The book explores the role of parents in shaping the development of children. It focuses on the importance of “showing up” for your children and being present in their lives as a key factor in their emotional and psychological well-being. And these are very important for the complete wellbeing of our children. It also explores the science behind parenting and how the brain develops in response to experiences and relationships. It provides practical advice for parents on how to create a nurturing environment for their children and how to support their emotional and social development.

Dr. Siegel argues that parenting is not just about providing for children’s basic needs, but also about being there for them emotionally and helping them to develop a sense of self and connection to others. He emphasizes the importance of listening to children, being attuned to their emotions, and creating a safe and supportive environment for them to grow and learn.

Five tips from “The Power of Showing Up” that may be helpful for you to apply in your parenting.

  • Be present and attuned to your children: Make an effort to be fully present with your children when you’re with them, and pay attention to their emotional states. This helps to build trust and a sense of connection. And that sets such an important foundation for discipline and all the teaching that is the life of a parent.
  • Create a safe and supportive environment: Help your children feel safe and supported by providing a consistent, predictable environment that is free of criticism and judgment. And this safety is not only a physical one. It is emotional, and mental too.
  • Listen to your children: Take the time to listen to your children and really understand their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. This helps them feel seen and valued. It allows them to believe that their voice matters. And that is such noteworthy empowerment. Listen, without judgement or prejudice. And sometimes you do not need to find solutions or advice in the moment.
  • Set limits and boundaries: While it’s important to be supportive and nurturing, it’s also important to set limits and boundaries to help your children learn self-control and develop a sense of responsibility. It also allows you to take care of yourself and have a life beyond your role as a mother.
  • Practice self-care: As a parent, it’s important to take care of yourself in order to be able to show up for your children. This includes taking time for self-care, seeking support when needed, and finding ways to manage stress. Everyone does better when they feel better including YOU.

I hope these tips are helpful! It’s important to remember that every family is different and what works for one family may not work for another. It’s a good idea to find what works best for your family and be open to adapting your parenting style as your children grow and change.

One of the things I appreciated about this book is that it’s based on the latest research in neuroscience and child development. The authors use this research to support their arguments and provide insights into why showing up is so important for children’s emotional and psychological well-being.

Another thing I appreciated is that the book is written in a relatable and accessible style. The authors use everyday language and the book is not heavily packed with science jargon, which makes the book easy to read and understand. They also provide plenty of examples and exercises that parents can use to apply the concepts in the book to their own lives.

“The Power of Showing Up” is thought-provoking and provides insightful look at parenting and the crucial role it plays in shaping the lives of children. I highly recommend “The Power of Showing Up” to any parent who wants to help their children thrive. The book is a great resource for parents who want to develop a deeper understanding of their children’s emotional needs and learn practical strategies for meeting those needs. It’s a powerful reminder that by showing up for our children, we can make a lasting difference in their lives and is that not what we all want.

Have your read it? Share your thoughts.

Creative ways to teach your children about Islam

Creative ways to teach your children about Islam

Everyone wants their child to be a good ambassador of Islam. Teaching children about Islam is a rewarding and enriching experience, but it can also be challenging to engage young learners. Children have short attention spans and can get easily bored, so it’s important to keep things interesting and engaging. To make the learning process more interactive and engaging, it’s important to use creative teaching methods that appeal to children’s interests and learning styles. 

There are many reasons why it is important to teach children about Islam.

  • To help them understand their faith: Teaching children about Islam helps them understand the teachings and principles of their faith and how to practice Islam in their daily lives. This can help them feel more connected to their faith and develop a strong foundation in Islam.
  • To build positive character traits: Islam emphasises the importance of developing positive character traits, such as honesty, kindness, and compassion. Teaching children about these values can help them develop these traits and become kind and compassionate individuals. It basically allows us to raise our children with those values we hold dear.
  • To instil a sense of community: Islam places a strong emphasis on community and helping others. Teaching children about Islam can help instil a sense of community and encourage them to be active and engaged members of their community.

Teaching Islam to children doesn’t have to be boring. Here are a number of creative ways to look to:

  • Use hands-on activities: Children learn best through hands-on experiences, so consider incorporating activities that allow them to actively engage with the material. For example, you could have them make their own prayer beads or prayer rugs following a lesson or conversation on salah
  • Tell stories: Children love stories, and they are a powerful tool for teaching about Islam. Consider sharing stories from the Qur’an, Hadith, or the life of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to help children understand the teachings and principles of Islam.
  • Use multimedia resources: There are many great multimedia resources available that can help children learn about Islam in a fun and interactive way. Consider using videos, podcasts, or online games to engage children and help them learn about Islam.
  • Practice Islam together: Children learn best by example, so consider incorporating Islamic practices into your daily routine. There is so much they can get from your modeling. For example, you could pray together as a family, or participate in Ramadan activities together. This can help children understand the importance of these practices and feel more connected to their faith.
  • Use games and activities: Children love to play, and there are plenty of games and activities you can use to teach Islam. For example, you could play a memory game with Qur’an verses, do a craft project related to a story from the Qur’an, or play a game that teaches about Islamic values.
  • Use storytelling and role-playing: Children are naturally drawn to stories, and they love to play pretend. You can use these interests to your advantage by telling stories from the Qur’an or Islamic history, or by encouraging your children to act out stories or scenarios related to Islam. There are also a number of story books these days that teach many things. A few vendors have amazing collections, feel free to shop at The Dotted Pearl, Nurture Village, Meenas Muslim Art and Hadiya.
  • Use Nasheeds: Children love to sing and dance, and you can use nasheeds to teach Islam in a fun and engaging way. For example, you could create a playlist and keep on repeat. There are songs about Eid and The five pillars too.
  • Use technology: Children are growing up in a digital age, and there are plenty of educational apps, websites, and videos that can help teach Islam in a fun and interactive way. Just be sure to monitor your children’s screen time and choose age-appropriate resources.
  • Make it interactive: Children learn best when they are actively engaged in the learning process. Consider incorporating activities that allow children to participate and interact with the material, such as role-playing, art projects, or discussions.
  • Use real-world examples: Children can better understand and relate to concepts when they see how they apply in the real world. Consider using examples from their own lives or current events to help them understand the teachings and principles of Islam.
    • For instance: Imagine that a group of young children are playing at a park and one of them falls and gets hurt. The child is crying and upset, and the other children are unsure of what to do. One way to teach the children about Islam in this situation is to use it as an opportunity to discuss the importance of compassion and kindness in Islam. You could explain that Muslims are encouraged to help others in need and to show compassion towards those who are suffering. You could also reference the ayah that says “and do good; indeed, Allah loves the doers of good” (2:195). You could also encourage the children to offer comfort and support to the child who is hurt, such as by offering words of encouragement or a hug. You could also suggest that the children pray for the child’s recovery. This can help the children understand the importance of compassion and kindness in Islam and develop a sense of empathy and concern for others. As such, you can help the children understand the teachings and principles of Islam and develop positive character traits. You can also help the children learn to be kind and compassionate towards others and to offer support and comfort when needed.
    • Another example: Imagine that a child is playing with his friends and it is time for zuhr salah. The child is hesitant to stop playing and go to pray because they don’t want to be different from their friends. You could also suggest that the child invite their friends to join them in praying salah. This can help the child feel less isolated and can also be an opportunity to educate their friends about Islam and salah. It is a good time to talk about the importance of salah and the benefits it brings. By using this real-life situation as a teaching opportunity, you can help the child understand the importance and benefits of salah and develop a consistent prayer habit. You can also help the child learn to be proud of their faith and to share it with others in a respectful and inclusive way.
  • Encourage questions: Encourage children to ask questions and explore their own understanding of Islam. This can help them develop critical thinking skills and feel more connected to their faith. Sadly, questions make us uncomfortable. It is okay to take a minute and come back to the question when you are feeling less triggered. 
  • Make it fun: Children are more likely to engage with and retain material when they are having fun. Consider incorporating games, songs, or other fun activities into your teaching to keep children interested and engaged.
  • Seek help and support: If you feel stuck or overwhelmed, it is okay to lean on others. A good course to take is Tarbiyah at home – which is specifically designed to help Muslim mothers teach tarbiyah to their children in a meaningful and effective way.It covers a variety of topics, and gives you tips and ideas based on the ages of the children, and it provides practical tips and strategies for teaching tarbiyah at home. Register here and get complimentary one-on-one coaching!

Children have different learning styles and may respond better to certain teaching methods over others. Consider using a variety of methods, such as lectures, videos, games, or hands-on activities, to reach all learners. It is important to consider the age and development of the children when choosing teaching methods. For young children, hands-on activities, games, stories, and other interactive methods may be effective in helping them learn about Islam. As children get older, you can incorporate more traditional methods of instruction, such as reading and discussing texts and participating in group discussions.

Teaching children about Islam doesn’t have to be a traditional lecture-style lesson. By using creative and interactive methods, you can help children learn about Islam in a way that is engaging and meaningful to them. There are endless ways you can teach children about Islam. Be creative and think outside the box. You can use art, drama, sports, or any other activity your children enjoy to teach Islam in a fun and engaging way

Whether you use hands-on activities, stories, multimedia resources, or other methods, the key is to find what works best for your children and their individual learning styles..

With a little creativity and effort, you can help children develop a strong foundation in their faith and a love for Islam.Over all, the best approach will depend on the individual needs and learning styles of the children, as well as the goals and objectives of the teaching. It’s important to be flexible and adapt your approach as needed to ensure that the children are able to understand and engage with the material.

Ultimately, teaching children about Islam helps them develop a strong foundation in their faith and helps them become compassionate, engaged, and well-rounded individuals.

Is your toddler hitting?

Is your toddler hitting?

Toddlers look so cute. A combination of genes, the budding independence and confidence. I mean, they look you square in the eye and say “No” to anything you ask. They also have a no-so-cute side which includes aggressive behaviour like hitting and biting. This is a natural progression at this age and also a huge concern for many parents. No one likes being hit or bitten by a toddler. Then it is one thing to take it at home but then your child hits or bites another on the playground and you become so triggered. And sentences like, “I will not allow you to be a bully” start to form in your head.

Hold your horses! Your toddler is not a bully.

When you think about it, it is understandable. You probably feel frustrated at times. Like I got stopped twice by the VIO in one morning and I arrived my destination just upset. Or you have invited friends or family over and just as you put in the rice to boil, your cooking gas is finished. It is frustrating.

Imagine how much more difficult that is for a little one who is eager to explore the world, but unable to express their thoughts when they run into trouble.

You can ask others to respect your boundaries. Your child may think knocking a playmate over is the logical way to get their toy back. The other day at the playground, my son was on a swing and this other boy came by and started pushing the swing really fast, and he said “no” but the boy didn’t stop. I was making my way to them and I could still hear him saying “no” and just before I intervened, he hit him. He just needed his boundaries respected AND hitting is not appropriate behaviour.

We can teach our children that there are healthier ways to handle these situations.

Positive reinforcement and close supervision can help keep the peace and speed up the learning process. Here are some strategies for dealing with aggression in young children.

Preventing Aggression:

  1. Limit temptations: Some triggers are avoidable. Childproof your home by keeping fragile and dangerous items out of reach. Choose activities your child will find engaging. They probably like messy play more than they like eating out in a formal restaurant.
  2. Distract: Keep distractions on hand. Play games or sing songs if you need to lighten the mood.
  3. Your child is more likely to act out if they are tired: And unfortunately, they are not going to say, I am tired. Toddlers need 11 to 14 hours of sleep each day, which may mean one or two naps. A balanced diet and plenty of physical activity helps too.
  4. Talk about feelings. Help your child to understand their emotions and empathize with others and this you can do by modelling just that. How would you feel if someone just grabbed your phone while you were scrolling and wanted to play with it? Not happy for sure. So, step into their shoes.
  1. Rehearse responses. Practice what to do in various situations. That way your child will be more prepared for disagreements during play dates and long lines at the supermarket.
  2. Monitor media consumption. Movies and TV shows contain a lot of violence, and small children are especially impressionable.
  3. Be a role model. When you’re calm and peaceful, you teach your child to make smart choices too. They’re watching to see how you handle traffic jams and rough days at work.

Dealing with Aggression:

  1. Break it up. It’s often preferable to let children work out their differences themselves. However, there are times when you need to step in if emotions are too strong or someone may get injured. Safety is important for all involved.
  2. Go home. Public tantrums happen even when your parenting skills are top rate. However, removing your child from the situation can help them to calm down and until they are calm, you cannot teach.
  3. Model. You cannot ask them to not hit others and you hit them. It is conflicting information. Frequent spankings tend to undermine a child’s self-esteem (“It is bad to hit someone but my mummy/daddy hits me, so what is wrong with me that I deserve it?”)  and it also increases the chances they’ll use physical force themselves.
  4. Seek professional help. If your child or even you seem unusually violent and angry, speak to a professional. There may be something else going on.

And don’t forget to appreciate positive behaviour. No one likes it when they feel like everything they do is not right. Appreciate when they are responsible and kind including resolving differences with words and taking turns.

Most toddlers and preschoolers will naturally develop more self-control as they grow older. Until then, you can reduce aggressive behaviour by providing a loving home, consistent positive discipline, practicing peaceful alternatives to aggression, allowing space for conflict resolution and practicing non-violent communication.