A Muslim بابا’s responsiveness to his children and his emotional availability are key characteristics of fathers that help children's development. Especially when children are treated with love and compassion, have higher self-esteem and confidence during their lifetime. When a Muslim بابا goes out of their way to show interest in their child’s activities, play and joke with them, you build a level of trust which ensures a brighter future for the entire society.
Here are 5 ways to be more involved with your kids!
Preparing for school in the morning can be hectic, but once you're in the car this is a wonderful opportunity to open and discuss various topics with your child. I mean, think about it...they can’t go anywhere! Opportunity!
Talk with your kids about friends at school, who do they sit with during lunch, what his/her class routine, and engage attentively with great interest helps build a solid foundation as a go-to-person to talk to about anything. Also, remind them of important faith-related elements that ultimately shape who they will become in the future. Such as reciting the الشهادة Shahada (statement of faith), say بسم الله Bismillah (in the name of god) before they start eating breakfast or lunch during school hours, and the dua’ (supplication) before entering and leaving the restroom. And most importantly, if your child is seven years of age and older, highly encourage the practice of praying Salat-ul-Duhur. These are small ways for your child to practice and get comfortable communicating with teachers and principal about implementing Islam regardless if they are attending an Islamic or Public School.
Your child anticipates lunchtime with excitement. After all, they’ve been sitting in class for quite some time and can’t wait to be outside to let out some energy. This is your opportunity بابا to either arrange a surprise visit to your child’s school. Not only do you get acquainted with who your child associates him/herself with, but will give you something else to talk about the next morning car ride to school.
بابا, if you prepare a lunch bag for your child, consider adding hidden messages, car shaped sandwiches, a simply wrapped gift, are some ways to show you are thinking about your child and demonstrates unconditional love.
Chores around the House
“Just wait a minute. I promise – I’ll do it later.”
“Aw Dad, do I have to??”
“Raheem doesn’t have to do this; why do I have to?”
Sound familiar? Welcome to the club! Household chores are endless and can be daunting. But, your participation بابا as an active member of the household, shows your child how to become one as well. This is not easy. However, remain steadfast in the belief that it is important to have your child/s complete chores, and your attitude can help set the tone that will increase cooperation in your household.
When assigning a task to complete in the household, depending on the child level, you can make it fun to race the clock who will complete the chore first. The winner can choose a gift from a basket specific for when household chores need to be completed. Nothing fancy, fun stuff from the dollar store. Also, keep in mind to provide appropriate space for the child to figure out how to complete the task. Remember, if you need something done a certain way, demonstrate and/or communicate how you want the chore completed with clear detailed instruction. For example,
“Raheem, do the dishes please”, بابا said.
15 minutes later(hopefully)... only the dishes in the sink were completed. Not the pots on the stove, the cups in the living room, or maybe a plate under the couch! Yikes!
Let’s redo the script بابا…
“Raheem, gather the dish, spoons, forks, and cups around the house, as well as what’s on the stove. Place a bowl with soap and water so we are mindful of the resources and we are not wasteful. Wash and rinse all the dishes. Once completed, towel dry and place each item where it belongs in the cupboard. Thank you! You are awesome!”
Totally different, right? At the end, praise them for their effort, keep in mind the allotted time designated for each task. Meaning, if your child does really well in 20 minutes, do not give them 40 minutes worth of chore to complete. This creates frustration and anxiety which is opposite of what were are trying to achieve in a Muslim household.
بابا , your role in the household is far more important than you think! The goal is to demonstrate how to be an active member of the household, which will pay off later in life.
Words are powerful بابا! In the real world, it rarely carries the same weight as words like “work ethic” or “persistence.” بابا, when you model to your child positive words, your child is more likely to have a positive outlook on life. Positive words ultimately shape your child's thinking and impact your child's performance at home, school, and life.
While you engage with your child, pay close attention to when your child does something well or exerts effort to achieve something. This is your moment to uplift his/her courage efforts. Simply have ‘thank you’, ‘You are Awesome!’, notes of encouragement within reach and give it to your child at the moment a good deed has taken place. This requires a level of attentiveness and awareness! So you may perpetuate the positive behaviors you want to instill in your home.
Pay close attention to when your child starts to criticize his/her own work. Remind your child that doing 110% is far more important than perfection. Remind them that starting and finishing something is far more honorable, and following through is what matters most.
[include the hadith of the prophet Muhammad(s)]
Sometimes kids are negative. They quickly feel discourages, compare themselves with other siblings and friends. When this arise, have your child repeat a positive sentence for every negative sentence he/she says. The goal is to shift the mind to think positive and be positive towards self first, and then others.
If you need a little help to view yourself in a positive way, I encourage you to check out the Love Glasses Revolution. The Love Glasses Revolution mission is about viewing the world through love and taking a pledge to do so with heart shaped sunglasses. However, for that to happen, you must start with love towards yourself! So, for every negative comment your son/daughter says, have your child pull out the love glasses to wear as a reminder to be easy towards him/herself, a small reminder to say positive things about yourself, and then we may discuss viewing the world through love at a later date.
Muslim Family Meetings
Family meetings are more important today than ever before. Family meetings are discussions that involve [all] family members who are concerned about or affected by a particular issue. Your child learns that family members are interdependent, that they are all connected, and what each person does can have an effect and impact on everyone else. Family meetings provide a platform for conflicts to be addressed and for problems to be resolved in a way that feels fair to everyone. And the best part, everyone’s voice is heard!
بابا , consider once a month meeting to discuss the affairs of the family; whether negative or positive. Have the courage to discuss the difficult conversation with your child, and do not be afraid to bring in Muslim experts needed during family meetings. Remember, you modeling this teamwork effort with your wife, as well as asking for ‘help’ when needed most greatly influences your child's idea of a marriage, how teamwork as a [husband and wife ] looks like, and will ultimately shape their future family.
Family meetings are also an opportunity to come together and start brainstorming ideas, set short/long term goals, and when your goals will be achieved. Have your children engage in giving ideas of places they want to go, whether it’s simple barbecue in the backyard or a long road trip.
بابا , your home is your peace and serenity. Your Muslim home environment is the beliefs and behaviors that determine how all members interact and handle internal and outside interactions. This is no different than a corporate culture! You and your wife must have a clear centered mission statement. In today's modern world called; ‘family manifesto’. The Muslim Family Manifesto provides your family with a declaration of values. This document supports the convictions of Islam, and provides a visual document placed where all members in the family can pause and reflect on. This can be something you and your wife can brainstorm about, or include during family meetings.
What is your child, Raheem, passionate about? What are Hana’s hopes and dreams? Making a dream board can be a fun and visual way for your child to express their dreams and inspire them to pursue them. All you need is construction paper, kids magazines, or print images off the web, and start pasting them on your vision board. Discusses the placement of these elements, such as the living room, kids bedroom, kitchen, and even in your car.
Any form of positive words and visuals, are ways to influence and recommend what is the heart of Islam, and will cultivate and promote the growth and spiritual development of your Muslim home!
Muslim بابا, you are awesome! You have an amazing role that starts in your home, community, and further impacts society at large. Do not ever underestimate any good deed! You got this! It’s time to Rise بابا and it’s never been a better time to start!
Happy parenting بابا !