How to Build Good Habits in Our Children? Some Tips (Part One)
Are you a parent? If so, one of your biggest concerns is likely how to raise your children, especially in today's digital world. You might be wondering if there are any helpful tips from an Islamic viewpoint. The answer is yes, there are.
First of all, healthy upbringing is a fundamental right that every child deserves. When parents neglect their responsibilities, it not only compromises the child's well-being but can lead to legal consequences, essentially turning them into unconscious wrongdoers, while it may result in significant consequences in the hereafter.
 
Some parents may view spending time with their children as an act of generosity. However, it's important to recognize that this isn't a generous gesture close to the act of giving money to the less fortunate. It is the right of the children to have a responsible custody. Being a good parent isn't just about providing stuff. It's about really being there for your kids and helping them grow, whether by spending time, showing care, or offering financial support. Our time is crucial for our children, but often we waste it on things that don't matter. Then we say we're too busy for them. Isn't that wrong?"
Kids start learning habits around ages 2 to 4. They like routines and praise. It's like they're clay that we shape with our actions. But nowadays, they're influenced by cartoons, aliens, and strangers. That's why they might not feel like our own. Are we making a big mistake by letting the wrong things influence them? Many kids spend a lot of time on gadgets, giving parents a break. But we're missing out on something important. While we can't completely keep them away from screens nowadays, we need to watch closely. Remember, our children are a precious gift from Allah. We need to cherish and guide them for this life and the next.
Here are some helpful parenting tips.
1. Plant the Seed of Habit 
Habits are like autopilot, actions we do without thinking. If we plant seeds of good habits (akhlaq) in our children, they will carry its fruits throughout their lives. As parents, it's gratifying to see. It is cooling for our eyes (Qurrat ‘Ayn). 
Encourage your children to tidy up their belongings, like their bed, school bag, and books, but involve them instead of doing it all for them. Stress the importance of organization and offer rewards like gifts or points for motivation. For example, teach table manners and set a goal, like earning 300 points for a reward such as new Musolla or pair of shoes. Give 5-10 points for each good behaviour, and once they reach the goal, give them the reward. This method keeps them motivated and builds lasting habits.
Start with simple, fun tasks and remember to keep it enjoyable.
Good manners is the best gift a parent can ever give their children. The Prophet (SAW) says: “There is no better gift that a parent gives to their child than good manners.' (t-Tirmithi, no. 1952)
2. Make their hearts filled with Gratitude (Shukr) 
Our children need to understand that what we have is not something we inherently deserve. If that were the case, many intelligent people wouldn't face poverty, and many wealthy individuals wouldn't make unwise choices. It's the blessing of Allah that we enjoy. Therefore, gratitude should be their compass. Teach them to "never ever complain," but instead, to seek solutions when faced with problems. Complaining serves no purpose, but finding solutions empowers us.
3. Inculcate them the sense of Accountability 
Parents play a crucial role in shaping their children's worldview and perception of reality. Even without explicit discussions, when a mother and father create an atmosphere of accountability to Allah in their home, they lay the groundwork for their children's genuine connection with Allah. This motivation should stem from a desire to please Him and the hope for His reward, rather than merely fearing displeasing Him.
It's important to continually remind them of the purpose of their existence. Let them understand that Allah has honored us by choosing us among millions to be Muslims, which is the greatest blessing of our lives. Explain the meaning of our existence; we are here to serve a purpose, which is to worship Allah, and elucidate the wisdom behind acts of worship. Encourage their love for Allah to surpass their fear of Him. Foster their trust in Allah and teach them protective supplications (Duas), while also sharing stories of Allah's mercy and protection.
4. Make storytelling a regular part of your daily routine
Make storytelling a regular part of your daily routine, dedicating 20-30 minutes to creatively share stories of the Prophets, good people, and virtues. Start from their early childhood to familiarize them with these stories. Share your own experiences and life lessons to connect with them personally.
Connect the stories to their interests; if they're passionate about cars, colors, or travel, weave exciting details related to their interests into the narratives. This will make them eagerly anticipate your stories and feel disappointed if they miss them.
Most importantly, infuse the stories with the virtues of gratitude, reliance on Allah, patience, truthfulness, integrity, and trustworthiness. Craft engaging storylines that highlight the rewards of embodying these virtues in life. Show them the benefits of these virtues through storytelling rather than simply instructing them to behave in certain ways to make an impact.
5. Introducing Prophet Muhammad (s) as their Hero 
Describe Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), highlighting his qualities, manners, behaviour, and love for children, along with his struggles and how he overcame them. Praise him with blessings. Teach them about blessings and regularly discuss the Prophet (peace be upon him) so they begin to admire him. Share stories from his life, portraying him as a hero, so they enjoy and learn from them as they grow. Leave a lasting, genuine impression without exaggeration, fostering excitement for learning more about him. Read stories about him, focusing on his character throughout different periods.
This will make our children deeply love and look up to him as a role model, bringing incredible rewards in their lives.
6. Teach them that Allah sees everything and He can do anything
It's crucial in parenting to emphasize the importance of strong faith (iman) in Allah. Encourage them to turn to Allah for their needs and wishes. Teach them about Allah's attributes and urge them to ask Him for everything they desire. When their prayers are answered, remind them it's by Allah's grace. Explain to them that sometimes prayers aren't answered for a reason, and help them understand Allah's wisdom.
If they commit a sin, discuss why certain actions are prohibited by Allah to prevent repetition.
Teach young children the daily prayers (Duas) to build lifelong habits, like starting the day with a morning prayer. Involve them in prayer routines and provide them with prayer materials. Encourage acts of charity and keep track of their remembrance of Allah (dhikr).
Make Quran memorization enjoyable by integrating it into daily activities like travel or study time. Set aside time during holidays for Quran recitation and memorization. This connection with the Quran strengthens their bond with Allah.
Finally, we have to keep in mind that parenting is a heavy responsibility, and we must be patient and perseverant. We should not take it lightly but strive to approach it wholeheartedly, with sincerity. May Allah bless us. 

Disclaimer

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily mirror Islamonweb’s editorial stance.

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