If you have been following me on Instagram, you may know that I have been trying to teach my kids to be thankful for everything, the good, the bad and the ugly (I am hoping that this will teach them to be patient along the way). My daughter is at the age where she knows what she wants and will do anything to annoy you until you get it for her. She can’t walk pass a shop without pointing to a doll that she exclaims will make her “so so happy” and that she will never ask for anything else again. After falling for that one too many times, I realized I had to start teaching them to be grateful for what they have. Kids can sometimes act entitled and as parents, it’s our jobs not to help them keep their feet firmly on the ground and remind them that they have truly been blessed.
There is just so much to be grateful for Alhamdulilah. We wake up from our warm beds every morning, eat a hearty breakfast, dress up, play and go to sleep with a roof over our heads. Alhamdulilah, we have not been tested with true hardship, the kind that leaves you walking miles for water, or a health diagnosis that leaves you with only days or weeks to live and we don’t have to worry about not knowing where our next meal will come from.
We may not have what others have, but we also have to remember that we have more than many. Teaching the concept of gratitude is certainly not an easy task especially because preschoolers are naturally self centered. Nonetheless, it is a crucial life skill to learn. In fact, research shows that gratitude benefits both adults and kids alike on a basic level. Studies reveal that cultivating gratitude can increase happiness and cause individuals to live happier, more satisfied lives and enjoy increased levels of self-esteem, hope, empathy and optimism. Other studies have shown that kids who practice grateful thinking have more positive attitudes toward school and family.
Do’s and Don’t s:
- Do let them be thankful to the people around them
Tip: Get them into a habit of saying jazakillah khair or thank you when someone does anything for them.
- Do expose them to how other people less fortunate than them live
Tip: You can do this through books for younger children
- Do model Gratitude
Tip: Work it into your daily lives, as our children model us and will follow our lead.
- Do ask what they are thankful for in the evening and/or morning
Tip: Teach your child the dua for when they wake up and explain the meaning. They may not fully comprehend it but eventually they will.
- Don’t look or compare yourself to those who have more
Tip: If you do happen to compare, let it be with those who have less, and remember to be grateful yourself.
- Don’t buy them too much stuff
Tip: Instead teach them to take care of what they already have and rotate their stuff so they don’t get too bored with one thing
Initially when we first started making our Dua book, it was to count their blessings. I had already made a habit of asking them what they were grateful for each night while tucking them into bed, but I wanted to write it down. This soon evolved into adding more pages and including the duas they were memorizing. They learn a new dua every so often so I wanted a way to keep track and remember which ones they already know and what they are learning.
Ideas of easy Du’at that toddlers and preschoolers can learn:
- Giving Salaam and Accepting it
- Giving thanks to the people (Jazakillaah khairan)
- Giving thanks to Allaah (Alhamdulilah)
- Praising Allaah with (Alaahu Akbar)
- When angry (A’uuthu Billah)
- Dua for eating and when done
- Sleeping and Waking up
- When leaving the house and returning home
- Going inside the restroom and leaving
- Seeking forgiveness
- Dua for when they sneeze.
- Dua for asking for the best in this world and the next
- For parents
How to make your own Dua book
There are a ton of ways you can use this Dua book. For older children, you can let them write their own dua and decorate it, while for younger children you can print it out or write it for them. Put a sticker on the fingers so you know which supplication they have memorized.
You will need:
- Pencil for tracing
- Your little ones hand 🙂
Optional for turning it into a book: a String and whole puncher.
Fold the paper in half and trace your child’s hand on the folded side. Cut it out. For the gratitude ‘page’ write “Alhamdulilaah” in the middle and ask your child 10 things they are grateful for and write them on each finger. For the dua ‘page,’ choose a dua that you will focus on learning/ memorizing and write it on the page, to keep track of the ones your child already know.
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