Nurturing Readers: Allah knows all about me

Nurturing Readers: Allah knows all about me

Recently, We came across a gem of a book that I just had to share with you. The book is called “Allah Knows All About Me” by Learning roots, and it’s a delightful little compilation that will leave you with a smile on your face. I love books that have great language, use rhymes so the children catch on easily and teach something. This book combines all three and uses beautiful illustrations.

I especially love the rhyming text. It is catchy and fun to read out loud. The illustrations are colourful and cheerful, and what really sets this book apart is its message – It emphasizes that Allah knows all about every aspect of our lives. Allah ﷻ knows about us always. All ways.

So if you’re looking for a great book to read to your kids, or if you’re just looking for something to brighten your day, I highly recommend “Allah Knows All About Me” by Learning roots. You won’t be disappointed. It has become a favourite in our household. It is a heartwarming book that will leave your children feeling special and leave you feeling warm and fuzzy on the inside. It is important we teach children about our faith in a way that is accessible to them. As always, i am a champion for great books.

So tell me, have you read this book? Would you be adding to your wishlist? What other books are you loving and reading again and again?

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.

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.

Parenting during the Holidays: Ready! Set! Thrive!

Parenting during the Holidays: Ready! Set! Thrive!

Holidays are so exciting. It is a time for the whole family to reconnect and this is necessary especially if most of the family do not live in close proximity with each other. Eid is round around the corner but these tips will work for any holiday with family. Eid is a very exciting holiday and it is such a blessed time to be around family. However, this comes with some anxiety for most parents and then some more for those who have chosen to parent differently or more intentionally. There is this invisible demand for perfection and comparison. And so holidays or time with other members of the family can be overwhelming AND exciting for both the parent AND the child.

There is the stress of traveling with your children, a change in their routines or rhythm for the day, a new space and sometimes this results in more overwhelm than excitement and as such, is a great recipe for tantrums and connection-seeking (We don’t say attention-seeking). There is a tendency to shift to fear-based parenting. Where we tell our children that when they obey us, do as they are told without question and behave well then they get a reward and the compensation for “misbehaviour” is that they lose something or they don’t get something earlier promised to them. This backfires as it further increases anxiety and even erodes the child’s confidence.

So what can we do instead?

Keep your child(ren) in focus

It is supposed to be an exciting time for bonding and you may need to talk to them about the people visiting or the people you will be visiting. The children are the first priority and it helps to keep your actions and inactions child-focused. Let it not become something they dread.

It is so hard to just sit and listen to unkind comments thrown at you or your child. You could smile and excuse yourself. Or you could decide to hold a boundary. Know that people’s one-off comments are not enough to unravel all that you have done to lay a good foundation with your child. However, it is important to decide what you are going to do, maybe it is okay to let this slide or maybe it isn’t okay and there is a need to hold a boundary. What is your child needing? What are you needing?

Set expectations 

It is important to have clear expectations. It isn’t just about rules and regulations but let your children know what to expect and who will be there and a possible timeline of events. Children thrive best with rhythms and routines and so much unpredictability can be overwhelming and that never looks good. Go ahead and prep them for social expectations as well. For example, “what do you need to do before you go into any room?” and you can make it fun with some role playing and games.

Consider your child’s personality

If your child is more reserved, they may need a lot of timeouts and that can even be just trips to the bathroom especially if they recognise it as the only private place (And would be better without some aunty yelling that they are going to pee too much or making them the focus of the conversation because they moved in their seat). For a more outgoing child, it could be challenging getting them ready to leave and so it is important to notify them and get them prepared before they really have to go.

Have a CODE word

Sometimes there might not be space for privacy and you child really needs to communicate something to you but they may feel embarrassed to just say it out. You can decide a random word that lets you know that they need a break or some private time with you or they just need space. Feel free to pick any word – ‘Hammer’, ‘Green’, etc. And honour it!

Show yourself some grace

It is a stressful time and it is okay if you feel overwhelmed too. However, if you are unable to stay grounded, your child(ren) can absorb all of that and that will look like more tantrums, and connection-seeking behaviour. So take deep breaths, practice smiling and find moments to slow-down within the day. Holidays can be very fast-paced. Remember, your child depends on you to regulate their emotions. 

Peep the food

That sugar-high behaviour can be so unpredictable and the celebrations are filled with so much sugar treats and candies. Be conscious and feel free to step in and hold a boundary. It helps to have healthy choices on hand.

You are the best parent for your child. You are your child’s advocate. Set your child up for success. Don’t put them on the spot asking them to redo something they recently accomplished. Don’t force them to hug or shame them when they ‘forget’ to greet or if they ‘forget’ to say thank you. No need to yell. Just gently remind them by saying, “Thank you Aunty Aisha for the gift or money.” Wait people still give children Eid money right?!

If you have read till here, you are awesome, just because you are trying to do right by your child and I appreciate you.