Inside: We talk about how to teach a child to start praying Salah. Everything about Namaz for kids and how to gently get them on the habit from a young age.
As part of the welcome Ramadan posts, I am sharing today another post for Kids in Ramadan. We all deal with children who neglect their prayers or sometimes outright reject it. Today, I share tips that have helped me teach my children to perform their prayers and on time.
This post was written when my son was 7 yrs old. Many years have passed since I wrote this. I have three more children who I have used the same techniques with. Many readers have written in telling me how much this post has helped them start their children on the right track to love salah. Alhamdulillah, this was the right way to teach a child. Read on.
One of the first actions that a person will be held accountable for on the Day of Resurrection is for his prayers. If a believer’s prayer is sound then all his deeds will be sound too. Praying is not about just being able to remember God but also about obedience and responsibility.
Teaching your child to remember to pray behind your back doesn’t come easy.
He needs to be taught to love his prayer. It is instructed that you start teaching a child to observe his prayers from when he is 7 years old so that he can perfect it as he grows up. Introducing them to prayer would of course start early. They will watch you and learn too.
Most parents know that it isn’t easy to teach your child to pray all the time. They may pray some times when they are in the mood but praying five times a day…? Well… there will be come a time when they will outright say ‘No’. How do you handle this? Let me share my experience with growing little Momins (believers).
How my parents made me fall in love with prayer.
As a child, I loved watching the Salah being performed at the Holy Mosque at Makkah. I would sit and watch it till the end and at times my siblings would too. In Ramadan, we would let the TV run all the while the Taraweeh was on. TV wasn’t allowed in Ramadan for us but my parents would deliberately turn it on at Taraweeh time so that we watch it. Often, they would take us to the mosque too. It inspired us to recite the Quran like the Imam and often we would imagine we were little Imams too.
When cousins came over, we would perform the prayers together letting one of the older boys be the Imam. This was our ‘namaz for kids‘. I am sure my parents felt pride seeing their children on the Right path. Fast forward to now, I am growing my son seven years old and naughty. He knows more Quran than I did at his age and he prays at the mosque as often as he can too. But he wasn’t always this way… we struggled for a brief time when he would reject us and neglect his prayers. Here is what I did.
To our surprise it works!
My husband would often feel disheartened when he had started talking back and telling us that he didn’t want to pray and of course I felt amused because we were talking about a six year old. My husband would often sit with our son and talk to him about the importance of prayer too.
Prayer means obedience. If a child can pray, it means he will abide by his responsibilities. We talked to him but it didn’t work. We gave him stars… points… rewards but still it didn’t inspire him. Then one day….
I told him he was the Imam of our house. I told him that as soon as it was time for prayer, he should get up, give the Iqamah (call for prayer signalling that prayer would start soon) and we would all gather behind him so that he could lead the prayer.
It worked like a charm. I had filled his power bucket and we had together filled his attention bucket. He was the Imam! My husband would feel offended at first that I was making him pray behind his son but after a little encouragement he understood that something’s can be compromised. (He prayed his own prayer independently but standing behind him. 😀 ) Ever since that day, we have a little Imam in my house.
How to grow a child who loves to pray Salah
Here are a few more tips that can help your child observe his prayer and grow up to love praying.
• Teach by example. Our kids watch us more than they listen to us. If you pick up a mussalla as soon as the Adhan is called. So will your child. They will watch you and by nature want to be like you.
• Give them their own mussalla. Let them love to be little believers with all their own stuff. Give them skull caps and hijabs too.
• Show them the right way to wadhu. I have seen by personal experience that the more perfect a child is at his wadhu the more better will be his concentration.
• Call out the Iqamah. My husband has a habit of calling out the Iqamah if he prays at home. My kids go running when they hear him. They call out like him too.
• Take them to the mosque. Let them see that it is the way of life.
Your dua (prayer) matters too.
Include your children in your prayers and specifically ask the Almighty to guide them.
رَبِّ اجْعَلْنِیۡ مُقِیۡمَ الصَّلٰوۃِ وَمِنۡ ذُرِّیَّتِیۡ ٭ۖ رَبَّنَا وَتَقَبَّلْ دُعَآءِ
“O my Lord! make me one who establishes regular Prayer, and also (raise such) among my offspring O our Lord! and accept Thou my Prayer.” (Surah Ibraheem 14, ayah 40)
What to do when you have more than one child?
Alternate. Or the youngest is the Imam. The older goes to mosque. 🙂 Teach the elder one to help his sibling. I am a strong believer that siblings are the best of teachers. 🙂
What do you do when you have girls?
I am a girl. 🙂 That said, I loved to show off my prayer to my family. This tip has worked with my niece too. Remember though that girls sit in the same line as the other ladies when they are leading the prayer and they don’t lead boys. They have to lower their voice too. The purpose of this tip is not to make Imams out of children. It is to make them feel confident in their prayer and enjoy praying. I hope you benefit from this tip, InshaAllah.
This is my one trick that personally has helped me with getting my son to pray. Do you have tip for us? Go ahead and try it. Grow your own little imam!
What else can you do to encourage the love of Salah?
Fill their world up with toys and products that teach them about their way of life. I have personally seen that kids who grow up with toys that speak about their culture, grow up accepting and feeling secure in practicing it. Buy your child their own Musalla (prayer mats) and hijab or Kufi caps. Let them enjoy it. Buy them toys that help them pray. Create an environment that is an Islamic way of life!
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Here are more posts in the Ramadan Series:
- How to Encourage Children to Perform Salah at the Mosque
- Ramadan Calendar for Kids
- Ramadan Preparation: One simple change that can help all parents
- Creating Joy in Ramadan
- Printable Activities for Ramadan