There are Duas for each aspect of our lives: from eating, going to the bathroom, going by transport to leaving the house. Since there are so many to be learnt, how can we teach them all to our children?
The obvious method is to systematically have them memorize each one. However, the problem with this, apart from it being laborious for each party, is that it tends to be taught out of context. Children tend to learn them in the classroom or in a little lesson far removed from the situation the Dua was meant for. When something is learnt out of context it becomes difficult to recall in another setting.
There is an easier way to teach these Duas simultaneously and without much effort to parents or teachers. It is by saying the Dua loudly and clearly whenever a Dua is called for. For example, everytime you are about to eat, instead of saying it in your head or softly, say it out loud. Before going into the bathroom, say it out loud. After leaving it, say it out loud. Get the picture?
When you repeatedly say it out loud, children will gradually pick it up. Before long, you will be pleasantly surprised when you hear the Duas said in the right context without you having to teach them!
This was the case at our playgroup with children between the ages of one and five years. We were teaching them to say the full Dua for before and after eating. However, it was a difficult task with children so young. Nevertheless, we had written the Duas nicely onto cardboard and every lunchtime, without fail, we made use of it - we read it out loud together. At first, the children listened but, Subhanallah (glory be to Allah), a few weeks later the three to five-year-olds joined in and the two-year-olds made attempts to say it. From this, we applied this principle to other Duas and Surahs (chapters of the Quran). Subhanallah, our children have learnt many Duas and Surahs without much effort on our part.
However, one drawback is that this method calls for parents or teachers to know the many Duas themselves! Not a drawback, really, when it benefits both parties to learn more Duas.
Games that bring the family closer
Father's reading the newspaper, mother's on the telephone, brother's on the computer, sister's reading a book, and little Ahmad is playing with his toys. What do these people have in common?
Nothing. How can they be brought together?
Young and old, we all love games. What better way to share each other's company, learn about Islam and have fun at the same time than to play a game? Below are three games to play with the whole family.
1. 'Steps to Paradise' Board Game.
This board game, made in England, has questions for different age or knowledge levels. Answer the questions on Islam as you move around the board. And if you have collected enough Sawab (reward) then you might be able to enter Paradise.
2. Question and Answer Cards.
Pre-made cards with questions and answers on Islam are readily available. Split the family into two teams and compete with each other to see who has the most right answers. The 'losing' team can do something together for the 'winning' team, for example, cook dinner. (This may mean that dad and some of the children may be cooking dinner for mum!) If pre-made cards are not available, then get into your teams and design the questions for the other team to answer.
3. Treasure Hunting.
Mum or Dad designs a treasure hunt for the rest of the family. The number of clues, in the form of questions, depends on how many letters the secret place that contains the prize has. For example, if a cake awaits them in the REFRIGERATOR then 13 questions are needed. The first question needs to have an answer starting with R. For example, "What is the name of Surah 13?" The answer is "Ra'd". Each first letter of the answers form the final word. Draw a map and place each question on a card at each location. Once the code is cracked all can share the prize.
An important note to keep in mind is that when teams are called for, make sure it's randomly selected. Also, for each game, team members will be different each time. If team members remain the same all the time, rivalry will be set up and not all members will have the chance to work with the others.
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