Helping Kids to Love Their Prayers
As parents, we help our kids develop their relationships from the very moment they arrive. Deep connections are forged with close family, friends, neighbours and class-mates, but the most important relationship we can help our children to foster is with Allah. The most natural way to establish this special connection is through prayer time. Here are some helpful tips to make prayer time something you and your children look forward to together.
Invite Your Children To Join You in Prayer, Don’t Nag
Sometimes, in our desire to teach our kids about Islam, we can forget that inviting them can actually be the best approach. Nagging and attempting to force our children to join us in prayer is not only counter-productive, but can lead to our kids viewing prayer as a chore instead of a positive routine in their lives.
Keep your tone light-hearted and welcoming, conveying to your children that you are getting ready to pray and they’re invited to join you.
Get Your Children Involved and Excited About Prayer
If you can build excitement and engagement around each prayer time, your children are more likely to become invested, and begin to look forward to it. Make sure your child - or children - has their own special prayer mat, letting them choose their own design and colours. If your daughter loves all things purple, for example, she might choose our In Love with Prayer purple mat and carrying case.
Ask your children to help you lay out the prayer mats and play a counting game with you while you do your wudu. Children can’t resist a challenge, so why not time each other in how long it takes to do wudu? Kids love to help their parents, and if you appoint them as the wudu time checker or part of the prayer area set up crew, they will feel more engaged in the process and become more likely to want to join in.
Set the Prayer Schedule Together
Using a visual schedule, with images depicting what the events are during the day, can be a great way of keeping children on track so they know what to expect.
For example, you can draw images together and use magnets to arrange them on the fridge: Wake up, Go to Preschool, Eat Lunch, Pray Zuhr, Play Time, Dinner, Bath, Story, Bed. When they can see what is coming next and have helped to create the schedule, your kids are more likely to get excited about the daily routine - including prayer.
Keep Your Prayer Expectations Age Appropriate
It’s important to remember that every age and stage will have a different understanding and interest in praying. Toddlers and preschoolers will naturally mimic their parents’ prayer, perhaps by wearing hijab and making wudu. Older children may start to learn the actions and Surahs by repeating after you, watching cute videos online or enjoying games and challenges to memorize the actions and parts of the Salat. Pre-teens and teens may benefit from support or advice on how to time manage their school work, part-time jobs, hobbies, screen time and their prayers.
Kids Can Learn How To Pray Through Play
You can encourage younger children to incorporate prayer into their playtime with art projects, drawing prayer mats, sewing or decorating hijabs and kufis. Kids can also dress up and act out prayers as part of their creative and dramatic play, like “playing house” or “playing mosque”. It helps them to feel that prayer is a natural part of their life, and something special for them as Muslims.
Prayer Distractions And How to Overcome Them
Older children and teens might have a lot to distract them from praying, and can struggle at times to motivate themselves to do so. Setting guidelines on screen time together, and using their devices to set reminders for prayer times can help with time management and priorities. If older children who are developing their identity forget or even refuse to pray, try to avoid it becoming a power struggle. Remind your kids that Allah always wants them to continue their connection, even if they have questions or doubts.
Don’t Forget Duas
While formal prayers are an important part of your child’s Islamic education, don’t forget the value of duas. Very young children can learn to make heart centred duas in both Arabic and the language they speak at home. Older children may want to write down their duas first as a writing activity, while younger children can draw a picture of the dua, or the special message they want to say to Allah.
Supporting kids to learn to love their prayers can be a challenge, but remember to keep the focus on the love of and connection to Allah. It’s a nourishing way to teach your children to pray, while securing your family bond and filling your home with beauty - both inside and out.
Shop our prayer mats here to start getting your child excited about prayer time.