Category Archives: Parenting

5 Tips for Students Fasting

By Mona Ismaeil

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Ramadan is just around the corner and with still a month of school to go, Ramadan joins us at a crucial time of the school year. Our children are the future of our Deen and it is essential we keep them excited, motivated and passionate about the practices of our Faith. At the same time, it is incredibly important to encourage education as a way of pushing our Ummah forward to more greatness.

Early mornings, attending classes, worksheets and exams are still business as usual. Here are some tips to help our students master it all.

  1. Inform: Inform teachers, advisors and fellow students of Ramadan. When others know, they can offer our students support. Also, by letting others know, our students can feel empowered.
  2. Diet: It is essential that our students have the fuel to get through the long days. Although it is hard to wake your child up for Suhoor, please do so! As an incentive to them to get up, prepare meals they enjoy eating that will give them good energy for the day to come.
  3. Support/Encouragement: It is very difficult to be the only child in the class fasting or one of just a handful. Be sure to offer your little one the greatest amount of support and encouragement possible. Remind them continuously that what they are doing is a big thing and you are proud of them.  Try different reward systems and trackers to help them see how many days they have successfully fasted.
  4. Be flexible: For young children below the age of maturity (puberty), encourage them to abide by the practice but still give them space for mistakes, accidents and just being children. School is a hard job and children get hungry and thirsty.  Although they are fasting, leave a small snack in their backpacks in case of emergency. By emergency, I mean they ran so hard during gym class that they feel dizzy and sick.  Remember there will be days when fasting just isn’t a good idea.  For example: big exam days, big presentations or generally stressful days.
  5. Educate: Children are much more inclined to do things when they understand why they are doing it. Explain to your children why we fast during Ramadan. Share with them some health benefits too as a bonus!

These children are the future of our Ummah. Inshallah with your support and guidance your children will be righteous Muslims.

About the Author

Mona Ismaeil is  the Associate Editor Muslimmoms.ca. She is also an elementary  teacher turned blogger and writer. Mona is the proud owner of Modern Hejab and stay-at-home mom to a witty 3 year old girl and a sweet newborn boy. She loves to travel and see all the world has to offer with her family.

The First Days of Fasting

By Saraa Mahfouz

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I felt excitement when I learned that I will be fasting that Ramadan. I was almost 9 years old and Ramadan was during the winter months. The days were shorter and the breeze became cooler.

I remember telling my mom what I wanted for Suhoor; a bowl of my favourite cereal and glass of juice. When my dad woke me up with a slight knocking at the door and coming to my bedside speaking quietly, I immediately jumped out of bed. We sat together at the breakfast table and started eating. My dad reminded me to make the intention and then smiled at me proudly. It was almost time to for school and I brushed my teeth and headed out to the world.

The first thing I did as I got to school was rush to my teacher and tell her I was fasting and that I couldn’t eat or drink all day. My teacher seemed happy but confused as she didn’t know what was going on. She asked if I can explain more and maybe do a presentation to the class. I was really excited and nervous at the same time. At that time I was the only student in the school who wore a hijab. There were other Muslims in the school and many were fasting as well.

After the morning announcements were made my teacher called on me to come up to the class and explain what Ramadan was. I walked slowly to the front of the class and started telling my classmates about how I will fast for the month, no eating or drinking from morning until evening. Of course my knowledge of the subject was limited at that age but I explained to them that I was fasting to recognize the children in the world who don’t have food. Many of the students asked if they can fast as well. It was an exciting feeling and I felt proud of myself. The next day almost the whole class said they were fasting!

Fast forward 15 years later. I have my own classroom and my own set of students. The first day of Ramadan came during the fall. It was the first week of school and Ramadan had already begun. My students were the same age as me when I first fasted and the excitement was the same if not more. This time all the students in my class were Muslim but all of them had different cultural traditions. Students came rushing to me in the morning to tell me they were fasting with the same speed that I once had.

I imagined myself running through those doors excitedly telling my teacher. The students were proud that they were fasting and most of them knew they were fasting for the same reason and more. They wanted to decorate and sing Ramadan songs. They wanted to share their stories of breaking their fast with their families. I looked at them with pride the same way my father did that first morning of fasting. I thought to myself that I couldn’t wait to share the traditions with my own little family.

About the Author

Saraa Mahfouz is a mom of two boys (3 and 1) and is expecting a girl in July. She has been an elementary teacher for 6 years and has a passion for sharing her thoughts and experiences with others.  She started blogging in her university years but motherhood and her two busy boys have since become her first priority. Saraa also dabbled in photography for some time. She is very excited to get back into writing and sharing her passion with the muslimmoms.ca community.

Ramadan Crafts and Activities

By Maryam Kidwai

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Ramadan is right around the corner and I can hardly believe it. The holy month is a time of spirituality, solitude, socialization and a time to feast on savoury delights with friends and family. One of my goals every Ramadan is to indulge a little more in our religious traditions and become a better Muslim in some way. To this end, I also like to involve my kids in the festivities and try to bring them closer to our religion. I find involving them in arts and crafts an excellent way to educate them about the importance of this holy month.

So I have been on a pursuit to identify some fun activities that I can do with my kids this year. Thankfully, there is no dearth of ideas online so the challenge is really to choose the most practical and constructive ones. Below, I have listed some fun crafts and activities that teach something relevant about our beliefs and that are simple enough to do.

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Good deeds: Create a calendar or a jar of good deeds that children can do every day. The deeds can be as simple as being kind, helping out around the house or hugging a sibling. Check out these links for some great ideas:

Baked goodies: Bake cookies in the shape of stars and crescents. You can also bake mini cupcakes and frost them with stars or toppers that read “Ramadan Kareem.” Some people prefer the idea of dates – whatever you choose, put it together in a beautiful package and share the goodies with your neighbors, colleagues, friends etc. You may also attach a note to explain the significance of the month and the reason behind our fasts.

 

Ramadan journal: Keeping a Ramadan journal is a great way to set goals and keep track of achievements each day. You can keep it simple by using a notebook and a pen or feel free to try some options from the list below:

 

Mason jar lanterns: Mason jars are all the rage these days. So why not make lanterns out of them.

Make beautiful mason jar lanterns with glass paint and gold puffy paint. Use glass paint to paint the inside of the jar. For the outside, use gold in whatever design you like. To add decorative details, you can glue pearls or twine. For easy hanging, add loops of fine-gauge wire. Light them up and your candles are ready to enjoy indoors or out.

 

Screen time: Kids these days love their iPads/tablets. So why not incorporate some religious learning during their screen time. There are several child appropriate lectures on YouTube that you can watch together. You may also download some of these apps:

Sadaqah jar: Make a sadaqah jar out of cardboard, an empty pasta sauce jar or a pringles can. Decorate it to give it a holy vibe and encourage your children to donate frequently and also collect from family and friends. I find this a good way to reinforce the importance of giving, sharing and kindness. It will help teach them compassion for the less fortunate, which is an essential component of our religion. The collected donations can then be given away at your local masjid.

 

Quran time: If your kids are old enough, try learning a new surah with them. There are plenty of short surahs to choose from. You can also read stories from the Quran about our prophets, stories of the sahabah and hadith from the prophet’s life.

Prayer rug bookmarks: Make prayer rug bookmarks using simple items like felt fabric, puffy paint and glue. You can go to the moon with ideas on colors and designs.

 

Ramadan calendar: Indeed, one of the joys of Ramadan is the anticipation of Eid. You can create a calendar as a way to keep track of your fasts and also to countdown to Eid. Here is a link with some ideas:

 

Candy balloons: Ask your kids to choose candy and sweet treats and fill the balloons. Blow up 30 balloons for 30 days. Pop a balloon every night after iftar and enjoy the treats. You may want to save the best treats for the last 10 days/balloons.

Ramadan is primarily about prayer and worship. It is perhaps the most sacred month for Muslims and it is our responsibility to make the most of the blessings this month brings and at the same time celebrate in all its glory. As someone who grew up in Saudi Arabia, I definitely miss the atmosphere and the enthusiasm with which we welcome Ramadan in Muslim-majority nations. My daughter loves all the decorations and the general vibe during the Christmas/holiday season. She always asks why we don’t decorate our house and why we don’t put up a Christmas tree. While I am not fundamentally opposed to the idea, I do believe that we should celebrate our festivals with all the excitement and glamour that we can, if not more. So this year, I would like to decorate our house some more and I really want to put up lights outside. Something about lights brings out a festive vibe. There are some great ideas for decorating your home. Check out these for some inspiration:

Back home in the Middle East and in the subcontinent, there is tremendous excitement around Ramadan/Eid and I don’t want my kids to miss out. I have bold ambitions but I sure hope I am able to pass on the excitement and the spark of Ramadan to my kids.

 About the Author

Maryam Kidwai is a mother to two beautiful girls. She works as a Marketing Communications professional in the financial services sector. Maryam is passionate about women’s rights and empowerment and volunteers at several organizations across GTA. She loves to travel fearlessly, meet new people and entertain. She has entrepreneurial ambitions and wild ideas. Maryam wants to be a renowned author of many books and dreams of building a little she-shed in her backyard where she can curl up with a book to enjoy the gorgeous sun and the short-lived Toronto summers.

Double the Trouble; Raising Twins

By Khaula Mazhar

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Nothing in the world can prepare you for raising twins. I raised three kids before I had twins (God has an awesome sense of humour) but I still was not prepared. It is double everything, understandably; double the nausea, sleeplessness, breathlessness, backaches (yes I do enjoy making up words). It is also double the joy, excitement and love.

Two little bundles of joy. Two wailing bundles of joy. Two wailing, puking bundles of joy. Two wailing, puking, pooping bundles of little fleshy things that make you love them. And just when you thought life couldn’t be more interesting. They learn to crawl. And walk or rather toddle. Precariously.

Raising twin toddlers ignites abilities you never dreamed you could have.

The ability to twist your body like a contortionist.

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Catch a five minute nap. While standing.

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You will develop nerves of steel. Either that or you have gone deaf and don’t know it.

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Yes raising twins is an adventure for the not so faint of heart!

 

About the Author:

Khaula Mazhar, author of Mama Loves Me, has written for Dawn Pakistan and now bestows her wisdom upon the world at her blog. Last time she counted she had five kids, however the vast amount of laundry has given her doubts. This is a cause of constant distraction as she tries to finish writing the next NYT best-seller.

The Distance Between: Tips for Those Who Work Afar

By Mona Ismaeil

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The Canadian economy has taken a great hit this past year. There isn’t a single Canadian home that hasn’t felt the pain. Many people have lost their jobs,  stay-at-home moms have been forced back to work and for some homes like my own it means one parent travels for work.

This unnatural living situation is not ideal and it can take a toll on the whole family. It takes a great deal of sacrifice from everyone but there are many ways to make this hopefully temporary set-up a little  easier. Remember the time spent apart, the time differences, or the distances between, the same rules apply.

The Couple:

Remember you are still a couple. You still need to connect anyway you can. A simple “Good Morning” or a check-in mid-day can make the world of a difference for both people. For the one travelling, it lets them know they are not forgotten and for the parent at home, it lets them know they are still supported and appreciated.  Also, be sure to talk as often as possible. It doesn’t have to be a long conversation, just a quick check in is all you need. Remember to say “I love you” as much as possible! Be sure to still keep the travelling parent in the know about day to day happenings. This could include things like telling them about a lunch date you had with a friend, or how you found a good deal for cable. Also, give them time to tell you about work, or an experience they’ve had while away. My husband and I know pretty much everything about each other’s day. We share almost every detail and for some that may be a little much but for us, it’s what keeps us connected. It’s like we’re never apart.

The Kids:

It is vital for the family dynamics to keep the travelling parent as much a part of the home life as possible. This means sharing with them everything big and small, good and bad that takes place at home. It is important to give the travelling parent an opportunity to give your children praise for the positive things and to discipline at the same time. For example, when my daughter is exceptionally well-behaved or she learns something new, I make a point of telling my husband so that he can praise her and tell her how proud he is of her. At the same time, if she has had poor behaviour, I also tell him and he talks to her about it. That way she knows Daddy is still as much a part of the family as Mommy. I take tons of pictures of the kids doing different things and share them with my husband. Playing, eating, bathing, laughing, crying, everything! My daughter even asks me to take pictures to send to Daddy so he can see her painting or so he can see her outfit that day.  I find this helps when our daughter talks to him and tells him about something she did he can respond in a way where he knows what she is talking about. She loves this! They can have a conversation and he doesn’t feel lost and she feels like he’s a part of it all.

The Routine:

It’s important for any well-oiled machine to run smoothly, that there be a system in place. For a family, routine is that system. As one parent leaves, the other parent is left to hold down the fort and naturally must find their own way to make it work on their own. That means that they adapt by finding their own routine. This may include meals, bed time routines, and routines for weekends vs. weekdays. When the travelling parent comes home, it can disrupt the routine you have put in place and that is ok… to an extent. Although it’s exciting when Mommy or Daddy come home and children are hesitant to sleep early because they want to tell stories and play games it is important to keep with the previously established routines as much as possible. If you allow it lax too much, you will undoubtedly suffer to get it back in order later on. Starting over again is just not fun!

The Communication:

Open, honest communication is very important in any marriage but it is even more important when there are factors which can make that difficult. No matter the time difference, the distance between you or how long you are apart (a day or a month), it is essential to keep communication strong. Ensure you have the tools to be in touch. We are living in a very technologically advanced world and this should be taken advantage of! A call to check in, a text message with a picture or an hour long video chat, these will all help the communication and connection strong.  Some tools we have used are:

  • WhatsApp
  • WeChat
  • Skype
  • Facebook Chat
  • Facebook Voice Call
  • Viber

If your spouse travels, what do you do to make it a little easier?

About the Author:

Mona Ismaeil is  the Associate Editor Muslimmoms.ca. She is also an elementary  teacher turned blogger and writer. Mona is the proud owner of Modern Hejab and stay-at-home mom to a sweet little girl. She loves to travel and see all the world has to offer with her family.

Preparing for Baby #2

By: Khaula Mazhar

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How about don’t? Have you not had enough fun with your first baby? Was 9 months of vomiting, nausea, swollen feet, back aches and the inability to breathe not enough? What about the all-nighters with baby number one wailing non-stop? Teething, tantrums, crayoned walls, dirty diapers, puked on shoulders…do I need to go on? Or did you just have one of those “Ooops!” moments? Ah well.

Preparing for baby number two:

1. Never throw out any item of apparel, no matter how shabby, from baby number one’s time. When you run out of all those nice new little onesies after the 26th leaked diaper/regurgitated milk soiling you will appreciate that you still have a pile of worn out onesies. Besides that, they are soft and perfect for baby number two’s delicate skin.

2. Don’t even think about buying those ridiculous baby toys. You should have learned by now that babies don’t play with toys. They play with things they can pull out of the lower kitchen cabinets. Including the garbage under the sink. Also sometimes what they find in the litter box. Do remove kitty’s litter box to a more secure location.

3. Do tell baby number one heartwarming stories about sibling love.

4. Do be prepared for baby number one to hate baby number two anyways.

5. Make sure to give baby number one plenty of attention, and be really patient with their sudden exemplified pain-in-the-buttness. They are about to have their kingdom overthrown, and they know it.

6. Do not try to be superwoman and have the house clean, dinner cooked on time and look good. No one sympathizes with that woman. Leave the place a mess and let the food burn at least twice a week. Don’t brush your hair or put on lipstick.  Do have on a little smudged eye liner. Break down in tears approximately six and a half minutes after your husband comes home from work on alternating days. While he tries to console you ask him to massage your shoulders and struggle to catch your breath between huge sobs. Talk a whole lot of gibberish between the sobs.  Put your feet up and relax as he worriedly washes dishes and orders take out. Do not feel guilty, this is all his fault in the first place. Remember smart woman, not super woman.

7. Sleep whenever baby number one does. You need all the naps you can get.

8. Make sure the crib doesn’t have any splinters from where baby number chewed off a chunk of railing while teething.

9. Buy a good supply of bibs, small towels and socks. Half of them will go missing by the second month of baby two’s entrance into the world.

10. Visit all your friends and family before baby two makes the grand entrance. You will not see them again for a very long time. Mention this to them every chance you get. They will feel the need to throw you a baby shower.

11. Act surprised at your surprise baby shower.

12. Relax. Breathe. You got this, second time around is a lot easier. Okay I am lying, it’s not. But stressing won’t help. Just roll with it mama.

About the Author: 

Khaula Mazhar, author of Mama Loves Me, has written for Dawn Pakistan and now bestows her wisdom upon the world at her blog. Last time she counted she had five kids, however the vast amount of laundry has given her doubts. This is a cause of constant distraction as she tries to finish writing the next NYT best-seller.

Healthy Easy Snacks For Toddlers

By: Marzia Shamsi

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 From the time I became a mother for the first time I have been very particular about what I ate while I breast fed my kids to what I fed them when they were young to now at ages 8 & 4. Both my kids started off with solids from 4 month on wards. Their diets included little portions from poached eggs,poultry,fish,fruits,vegetables,puddings & rice all boiled & mashed till the time they fully developed their tastes being able to decide their likes & dislikes. A lot of new parents are normally concerned &  reluctant to start off with solids. My advice to them would be we must understand that from the ages of 4 and 6 months, most babies are developmentally ready to get their first taste of solid foods. At this point, they lose the extrusion reflex that is beneficial for sucking a breast or bottle but can shove a spoonful of baby cereal right back out. It is very important for us to note that its the initial stages when they develop different tastes & textures slowly & gradually until they have entered the toddler phase. It is very important to balance their nutritional requirements since they need a little bit of everything  as they are crawling, learning to walk or already walking, running, playing, tripping & at the same time teething. There’s a lot going on in the little body. To balance it all the body requires a lot of energy .

When talking about different nutritional elements in the body fats have a pretty bad reputation, but it’s actually an essential part of every cell in your body. Dietary fat is a concentrated source of energy that’s necessary in a young child’s diet to meet those needs. Babies naturally get more fat because breast milk and formula are higher in fat. So when a child starts to eat more solid food and drink less breast milk or formula, the composition of her diet begins to change to a more balanced ratio of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. It’s all about balancing. I have designed few healthy & easy snack recipes for your toddlers that I hope you all will enjoy!

 Creamy Potato & Carrot Croquettes

These potato & carrot croquettes are a slightly fancier version of the potato pancakes. This recipe can be incorporated with shredded chicken or other soft easily digestible veggies too.  All-time favorites with my kids when they were little. Easy to carry around and quiet filling almost replaces a meal than a snack.

  • 1.5 lbs potatoes (about 5 medium potatoes), peeled
  • 1lbs of Carrots peeled
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 8 oz. package of Cabot cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 large eggs, whisked
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • Toppings: ketchup and parsley

 

Instructions:

  1. Boil potatoes & carrots  in water until tender, about 30-40 minutes depending on the size.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  3. Mash both vegetables with a fork and add up to 1/4 cup of water if needed to make them stick together a bit more. Add the grated cheese, salt and pepper, and mix to incorporate completely.
  4. Form the potato and cheese mixture into 12 croquettes (these will be large but you can also make them smaller.
  5. Coat each croquette in flour, dip into the egg mixture, and cover in breadcrumbs.
  6. Place the croquettes on a baking sheet and generously spray each croquette with cooking spray.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown and cheese begins to bubble out

 

Home Style Chicken Nuggets

I have been an anti towards frozen & processed foods  for a long time now. And after learning about its health risks in details at my culinary school it has helped me work harder towards creating home cooked snacks even more. This easy home style chicken nuggets is a favourites among toddlers & little kids

  •  1 egg, lightly whisked
  • 1/2 cup (45g) bread crumbs
  • 1 (about 200g) chicken breast fillet, cut into 3cm pieces
  • 1 small (about 290g)  potato, peeled, cut into 1cm-thick slices
  • Salt & white pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • olive oil spray

 Instructions:

  1.  Preheat oven to 200c. Line 2 oven trays with baking paper.
  2.  Place the egg and bread crumbs in separate bowls. Marinate the chicken for half n hr with garlic powder , salt & pepper Dip a piece of chicken into the egg then in the bread crumbs, tossing to coat. Place on 1 prepared tray.
  3.  Use a 4cm-diameter star pastry cutter to cut stars from the potato slices. You can use any shape cutter you like.  Place on the remaining tray.
  4.  Lightly spray the chicken and potato with olive oil spray. Bake the potato for 10 minutes first then add the chicken and bake for a further 10-15 minutes or until the nuggets are cooked through and the potatoes is tender. Serve with your homemade dipping or tomato ketchup.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Roll Ups

Kids normally get bored easily especially when it comes to eating bread, butter & cheese so I thought why not make it more exciting for them.This  is a standard cream cheese roll ups recipe favourite among toddlers easy to digest &  appetizing in its own unique way.

  • 20 slices      white bread, crusts removed
  • 8 oz      package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 large      egg
  • 1 cup      sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2      teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup      butter, melted

Instructions:

  1. Heat oven      to 350. Roll out bread slices with a rolling pin until flattened; arrange      on work surface.
  2. Beat      together cream cheese, egg and 1/4 cup sugar. Combine remaining 3/4 cup      sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl or pie plate
  3. Divide      cream cheese mixture onto bread, spreading about 1 level tablespoon on      each. Roll up bread to enclose filling.
  4. Brush      rolls all over with butter and roll in cinnamon sugar mixture. Arrange on      prepared baking sheets. (To make ahead, prepare to this step and cover      baking sheets with aluminum foil. Freeze for up to a week. Do not thaw  rollups before baking.)  Bake until the rollups begin to puff, 15 to      18 minutes. Serve warm.

Hope these easy snack recipes will make their way into your kitchens & into those little belly’s  leaving you with smiling faces & happy hearts.

About the Author:

Marzia Shamsi is a single mother to two lovely kids. Brought up in the UAE, a Canadian resident originally from India. A professional chef out of house while at home her first and last name is Mom. An amateur blogger who’s just started out, Marzia loves to share her thoughts and knowledge and dreams of owning her own restaurant some day.

 

5 Fun and EDUCATIONAL Activities for Toddlers

By: Mona Ismaeil

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Children are sponges, sucking up all the world has to offer. They are always learning. Even when you least expect, they are learning. They are learning about relationships, about themselves, about you, and about the world around them.  Children learn in many different ways. Everyone has heard about the different learners and surely you know how you learn best but do you know how your child learns? Most children don’t fall into one single style of learning until they are school aged. Even then, they could have multiple learning styles. At least, it is harder to pinpoint it until then. One learning style that all children have in common is through experiences, and authentic play. Children learn so much through play. It may not look like it, but it’s true.

Here are some fun activities you can do with your child to help them learn different skills and concepts without them realizing they are learning! It’s like slipping veggies into their meals without them noticing! Ssshhhhhhhhhhh, it’ll be our little secret!

 Alphabet: Letter animals

This is a tried and tested activity. If it was up to my daughter she would do a letter every day! For this activity you turn the letters into animals, or objects that start with that letter. It’s a fun hands-on activity which gets their creative juices flowing. Depending on the age of your child, you will do the majority of the cutting and such but toddlers are great at choosing what color construction paper to use and they are great at gluing!

Letter animals

Another idea is to put a number of items in a bag. Some that start with a specific letter and some that don’t. Have your child put their hand in the bag and pull out a mystery item. They then tell you if it starts with the letter you are working on that day.  If it does, great! If not, discuss which letter it does start with.  For example. If you are working on the letter “S”. In the bag of mystery items you may put a sock, straw, star, spoon, teddy bear, blocks, paint brush, etc.

 

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Numbers: Musical Numbers

I try to keep my activities fairly simple so that we can focus on the concept. To practice numbers, I made these very simple number cards. They are so simple that you can use them for pretty much anything and everything! One way to use these cards will get your little one moving, dancing and learning. What a great combo!

  1. Number your cards. Go up as high as your child knows and perhaps a couple numbers higher. This will challenge them a little.
  2. Choose a fabulous song they would love to move to. I like “Happy” by Pharell Williams (The minions version)
  3. Scatter the cards on the ground in random order.
  4. There are a couple ways to play:
    1. Play the music and have them dance and jump from number to number. When you stop the music they go to the nearest number, and identify that number. You can then have them count to that number.
    2. Play “I Spy”. You tell them the number, then they have to find it. After that have them do an action for that number. Example, “I spy number 5”. Then do 5 jumping jacks.  Or 7 wiggles. Or give me 1 hug, etc.
    3. Clean up by counting and putting the numbers in order or count backwards and clean them up.

 The Environment: Scavenger Hunts

I tried this for the first time in Mid-March and my daughter just loved it! I searched on Pintrest for “Winter Scavenger Hunts”. I found a simple one for her age. There are many options to choose from and you can do one for every season. I read over it with her so she would have an idea of what she was looking for, gave her a clip board and off we went. She was excited right from the start. She would stop me to point out things on her list. It was a great opportunity for us to talk about the changing seasons, animals, trees, and for us to get out to enjoy the sun together.

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hand print animalsAnimals: Hand Print Critters

We like to get a bit messy in our house and painting is an essential activity for us. I came across this fun painting activity while searching for an activity to learn about animals. I love it because it gives you the chance to get messy but also to discuss what the animals look like. You can discuss the difference between hair and fur. Talk about paws, claws and feet. You can discuss where the animals live, what they eat and so much more. The possibilities are endless!

 

Life: Pretend

“Monkey see, monkey do”. This couldn’t be truer for children. Make-believe and playing pretend are a fantastic way for children to learn about life and day to day activities. If you really watch your child play make believe, you’d be surprised at how they mimic you. They may pretend to be a mom the dolls are their babies. They may pretend to be the teacher and line their teddy bears up like their students. They may even give a poor little teddy bear a time out.  Sit down for a cup of invisible tea and cookies and talk to your child about nutrition. Be a patient in your child’s medical clinic and talk to them about the body and how it functions. Allow your inner child to be set free for a bit!

What activities do you love to do with your toddler? What works best for them? Share your tips and tricks. 

 About the Author

Mona Ismaeil: Mona Ismaeil is  the Associate Editor Muslimmoms.ca. She is also an elementary  teacher turned blogger and writer. Mona is the proud owner of Modern Hejab and stay-at-home mom to a sweet little girl. She loves to travel and see all the world has to offer with her family.

 

The Noble Call Of Teaching

By Aruj Sipra

The noble call of teaching

Teaching is one of the oldest and noblest services to the society in any culture. It’s also a process to prepare the next generation of skilled professionals and workers like engineers, doctors, educators, legislators and good citizens.

Being a teacher myself, I can say that teaching enlightens both parties, student as well as the teacher. Not only the students learn but the teacher also learns the lessons of life from students.

I started my teaching career right after graduating, as a way to start earning and the thought of getting my paycheque kept me going though I would say, it was not an easy ride. I was and still am fond of little children but at a distance so having a class of 20 children under the ages of three years old was pretty hard especially when you are young and naive yourself. There were many cries, grunting and kicking and to make matters worse, at times, I was the only teacher in the classroom. I survived against all odds because I had in me, one of the most important powerful teaching tool, patience.  A teacher’s patience is the heart of students’ long-term learning and skills.

Teaching isn’t for everyone, but if you love being around children, then it’s one of the noblest professions. You should have patience and to make it easier, have a pretty good sense of humour. Many times I have noticed children say the funniest things and I laugh with them. I feel much better because my students see me as a happy person.

Pre-school is also one of the most rewarding and fun grades to teach. Everything is new and exciting to these students. They love to sing and play games and really can learn to work together and treat each other with a great deal of kindness.

A positive feedback, simple words like“good job” or  “excellent” may not mean much to us but they mean the whole world to students. Publicly praise positive behaviour and show your students that you are celebrating their achievements as well.

The hardest part of being in this position is when parents don’t back you. If you have kids throwing punches, you simply can’t have it. And the parents will sometimes come in and make a hundred excuses; it’s not their child, it’s not their fault. When you don’t get support to correct problems, it’s disappointing.

I am often asked by the parents, “What are the best ways parents can help teachers and that teachers can help parents?” My answer, The Child-Parent-Teacher Triangle method which was developed by Dr Maria Montessori.

The three best ways parents can help teachers:

  1. Be involved in your child’s education – show them that you care and create a positive ‘triangle’ relationship between yourself, your child and your child’s teacher.
  2. Educate yourself on the current trends in education – how is your child’s teacher educating your child. Times change and so does the way we teach. As a parent it is your job to come to grips with the new ways of learning, to best support and guide your child through their learning journey.
  3. Send them to school happy – give your child a hug before they walk out the door and you head off to work. Look them in the eye and tell them how much you love them, how proud of them you are and boost their confidence every day. They will be more secure and ready to start a positive day of learning.

The three best ways teachers can help parents:

  1. Communicate – it is the key to success and keeping parents involved in their child’s education is critical. Don’t wait until parent conferences to let them know that their child is falling behind. Email them, call them or talk to them at the gate – keep them involved!
  2. Educate them – bring them in for professional development – teach them how you teach Math or English – support their learning as it is just as important as their child’s. They have to support learning at home.
  3. Be positive – send a note home or an email to let them know the amazing things their child is doing. Make no exceptions, do this for EVERY child. The smallest thing, can make the biggest difference!

There is always a leg-up personality in every successful person’s life. In most of the cases you will find, it is either one of their teacher or one of the grandparent that helped them how to ride and control reins of life. Aristotle said, “Those who educate the children are more to be honoured than they who produce them; for these only gave them life, those the art of living well.”

About the author:

Aruj Sipra is the community manager at MuslimMoms.ca, a teacher who absolutely loves her job and derives true joy from interacting with little ones.

 

20 Lessons I Learned in 20 Years of Parenting

By Rahila Ovais

20 Lessons I Learned in 20 Years of Parenting

Ever had a job where you had no previous experience or training; didn’t come with an instruction manual, and people’s lives were at stake? Well that’s parenting!  Here are some of the lessons I have learned while on the job.

  1. If you are not going crazy, you are not doing it right.

  2. Never argue with your husband in front of the kids. Remember you and your husband are a team. When it comes to parenting, you are only strong if you work with each other.

  3. Schedule regular date nights with your husband to keep your sanity.

  4. Whatever you do, never ever compare your kids with other kids. Also important is to never compare your parenting style with other parents. We are all being our best and doing the best we can for our families.

  5. Your kids are not a reflection of you. You will parent each child the same way yet they will all still grow up to their own personality; cherish that.

  6. No secrets and no lies should be the standard.

  7. Set certain expectations in stone.  In my home, it was important for me that the kids learn Salah and Quran before any other extracurricular activities. My parents won’t even let me have breakfast until I prayed two rakats of Fajar no matter what time I woke up.

  8. A family that prays together stays together.

  9. Take lots of pictures of your kids when they are young. You will be glad you did that when you are old.

  10. Insanity is hereditary; you get it from your kids

  11. Be friendly with your kids but you don’t have to be their best friend.  You job is to be a parent first.

  12. Spend the first ten years of parenting establishing your authority because if you don’t those next ten years will really suck.

  13. It is your circus and those are your monkeys, take responsibility.

  14. Kids do not remember what you taught them; they will remember what you are.

  15. If you want to grab your kids’ attention just try sitting comfortably and open a chocolate bar.

  16. Being a mother means developing “the look” that stops misbehaviour in its tracks.

  17. Don’t confuse “what works” with “what is right”.

  18. Actions speak louder than words. Enough said.

  19. You will learn a lot about yourself when you become a parent. For example how can you go through an entire day with only two hours of sleep.

  20. Don’t waste time trying to be a perfect parent raising perfect kid; love, nurture, cherish and happily live the time you have together.

 

About the Author: 

Rahila Ovais is a mother to four ranging from 20 to 5 years old. She’s called Jeddah, KSA, where she was born and Karachi, Pakistan, where she was brought up, her homes before moving to Toronto twenty years ago. She is also a very opinionated person who has a hard time keeping her thoughts to herself. You can follow her on Facebook: HijabiMommy.