A big struggle for parents raising Muslim children is having their kids WANT to pray. I still remember my parents constantly telling me that it was time for each prayer and I have caught myself doing the same thing with my two teenagers. It's tough...you're not alone! Creating habits in kids is a systematic process.
I wanted to share things you can do to help your little ones develop a love for Salah and a desire to pray.
Tip 1: Do Wudu With Them
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The key to Paradise is prayer, and the key to prayer is ablution.”
Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 4
Do Wudu with them and have them pray next to you. This is obviously obvious right? But it's the number one habit to develop. Not only should they have their own Salah mat next to yours, they should also be part of the Wudu process from a young age. I mean, how can splashing with water NOT be fun for your littles?
Kids are monkey see - monkey do. The other day it got really quiet with my 4 year old son Zakariya. My older daughter looked up to see what he was doing, and he was in the other room. He had laid down his own prayer rug and was performing his own way of Salah. Mashallah, it was the cutest thing ever!
Let them see and practice with you from the beginning to the end and Inshallah it will become an intrinsic habit.
Tip 2: Use an Adhan App or Clock:
Growing up, we had one of those golden dome prayer time clocks. The second the Adhan went off, we stopped talking and turned off the TV.
Now with the development of Apps that can do the same thing, download one that recites the Adhan loudly for each Salah time and do the same thing when it comes on. Have kids stop what they're doing or listening to, stay silent, and listen to the whole thing. Make that transitional connection of hearing the Adhan and preparing for prayer.
Tip 3: Salah Chart
As an educator, I know how incentive charts can work for almost any task you want the child to complete. Charts where they are in charge of tracking their own progress motivates them to keep up with their tasks if you make it fun!
Kids can quickly check mark each Salah they complete during the day. You can choose or not choose to link it to an incentive - like a sticker at the end of the day or a bigger prize at the end of the week. It depends what works best for your child.
But I wanted to make things a little easier for you and have created an editable Salah chart for you to download.
I like to say that your 5 prayers are your TICKETS TO JANNAH. So kids can check mark off each "ticket," after they pray.
You will need Power Point to open this but if you'd rather just get a PDF copy (that you cannot edit), you can email me at email@example.com.
Once you open the Powerpoint, you will be able to edit the number of Fard/Sunnah/ETC. This is helpful because you may just want to start off with only the Fard for very young learners. Or you may want to include more than I've listed. So you can either print as is or edit the boxes how you'd like.
Then you can print out the chart and either laminate the page or purchase a dry/erase sleeve to use with a dry erase marker. You can also get magnetic tape and once you stick that on, it can hang from your fridge (if it holds magnets - you know some of those stainless steel ones don't...how inconvenient right??!) But that's okay, you can also hang it from anywhere else in your house with a thumbtack.
I will send the Power Point file to you via EMAIL. Please click the following link and let me know what that is so I can send it ASAP inshallah!
Of course, I know most of us are busy moms, so if you'd rather just have all this done for you, I also have this Magnetic Dry/Erase Salah Board in my shop. You can click the picture.
Your child's name will be added and you can request a change to the number of Rakaat if you'd like!
Inshallah May Allah allow us and our children to always hold Salah close to our hearts and make it a habit that we do not think twice about. Ameen.