Author: Saniya Owais
As soon as our children start nearing their age of wisdom and maturity, it is natural for us as parents to worry about making them regular in their five daily prayers. I have a soon-to-be-7 year old daughter and I’m in the same boat. Recently, she started praying 4 out of 5 prayers consistently Alhamdulillah. And this is what worked for me:
1. Become consistent yourself
We are well aware of the fact that children learn from what they see, not from what we ask them to do. If they see you laying out the prayer mat and performing your five prayers without fail, that’s the seed you have planted in them for forming this habit.
2. Create the love for Allah in them
This has to be done not when you are willing for them to start praying but from the time they are old enough to grasp new concepts. One mistake we as parents often make is that we teach our children everything about the worldly things, for example doing their homework, using their iPads, dressing up, etc. but if someone asks us if we taught them about Islam, about the Prophet Muhammad SAW, about reading the Quran, we respond with “oh, he/she is too young to get it”. False! If they can learn their alphabet well, their colours fluently, then why not the Quran? Why not about Allah, His Prophets and Salah? We need to realize this and instil in them love for their religion from a very young age as it forms the basis of every other teaching in life.
3. Avoid anger and punishments in the process
Just as our Creator loves us 70 times as much as our birth mothers, the same emotion should be used when making our children prostrate in front of that Creator. Instead of saying, “If you don’t pray, Allah will punish you in the Hereafter”, say, “If you pray, Allah will be extremely happy to see that such a young fellow of His is praying so sincerely to Him, and in return He will always reward you with whatever you ask for.” I have used this expression when making my 6 year old daughter pray and when she looks at me with complete attention (and somewhat disbelief) as if trying to absorb every word I said, I feel like I am gradually attaining my target just as I wanted.
4. Reward them whole-heartedly
We all love gifts, and children love them especially. Reward them with one gift when they pray for the first time, another when they become consistent with one prayer for a month, another when they pray the five prayers for the first time, and so forth. They will know that it really is a big deal and will continue the practice of praying. InshaAllah.
5. Let them see your joy
Tell others about your child’s habit of praying. Discuss in front of them with your spouse about it. Mention it often so that children become aware how much happiness it brings you to watch them praying. They will work harder towards it in order to keep you happy and without you realizing, very soon they will be hearing the Adhan and getting up to pray themselves and will never miss a prayer intentionally. InshaAllah.
About the Author:
Saniya is a physiotherapist by profession and runs a personal blog on Facebook where she writes about parenting, lifestyle, events, travel and food in a fun way. It is called The Quirky Blogger. Her hobbies include reading, baking, socializing, and finding new ways to cheer herself and people around her up.