The first time I was ever asked that question was by my niece, who at that time was 4 years old. While I thought I knew the answer, I just didn’t know how to answer it in a way she would understand.
A few month later I happened to be (by the qadar of Allah) sitting behind a young boy around 3 years old and his father on a bus. I couldn’t help but overhear the father asking the young boy where Allah was? I listened attentively to the child’s answer as he pointed up and said “fii samaa.” His father then asked how he knew. The little boy answered, “Ar-rahman ala arshal stawaa.”- (Surah Taha, 5) I was fascinated. How did his parents manage to teach him all that at such a young age?
Want to know why your child does not show interest in books and the Quran? Observe your own behavior towards books and ask yourself if you read on your own in front of your child?
Want to know why your child speaks in a rude tone? Listen to your own way of speaking. How do you interact with others (or your spouse) in front of your children?
The ability to copy behavior is visible from the first months of life. Studies show that newborns imitate facial gestures; a 9-month old child can imitate a simple action he observed 24 hours earlier; an 18-month-old can figure out when to imitate someone and when the person’s actions are not worth replicating.
I am sure we have all watched those cute videos of 18 month old’s praying next to their parents as they imitate their actions. That’s because our children watch how we worship Allah on a daily basis, how we pray, use the rest room and what we say when we are the dining table. It’s up to us as parents, to be their number one role models and to cultivate their love for the deen.
So next time you sneeze say “Alhamdulilaah” out loud, “Bismillah” before you eat and remember to eat with your right hand because lessons are being taught and foundations laid.
Children are known to have sensitive periods, and the best time to introduce and teach them about Allah is when they are learning to point to themselves and try to learn the names of the people around them (16+ months). This lays the foundation that can be built upon as you continue to teach them. To start, its advised (from 21 points of raising children by Umm Abdillah) to teach them where Allah is by pointing with your finger towards the heavens. After that you can start teaching the proofs within the Quran or the hadith and in turn this will teach them the correct creed inshaa allah.
The same goes for Quran memorization. While you may not want to sit down with a toddler for x amount of minutes to memorize a verse, you can lay the foundation by listening to the quran every day and allowing them to memorize it through hearing. Children at such a young age don’t need a formal curriculum, their education is embedded in their daily lives.
Repetition is key to learning. Having a routine and developing good habits can really help children. Leading by example requires you to be mindful of your own behavior everyday,and to be consistent in everything you do whether that is to listen or read the quran everyday. We don’t have to wait (until our kids reach a certain age) in order to teach them about Islam, instead we can start planting the seeds of knowledge from an early age.
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