The Family that Prays Together Stays Together
We sometimes succumb to the weakness of holding back in our worship because we feel like we are limited by our children. Given, that they do make finding the time and peace of mind to worship to one’s full potential a little more challenging; children are a blessing and often an inspiration. That’s why involving them in our worship, especially during Ramadan has numerous benefits. It just takes a little bit of preparation and pre-planning to get the most of this wonderful opportunity to bond with and enhance your children’s Tarbiyyah.
Tips for Parents to Involve Kids during Layletul Qadr
- Talk with your children about the significance of Layletul Qadr to your children ahead of time. For younger children you will have to keep things simple. Tell them that it is a very special night during which Allah will be very close to them. Ask them what they would like to say to Allah. Encourage them to ask for forgiveness and pray for those whom they love. Older children will be able to understand and appreciate the importance of Layletul Qadr in more detail. Read together and discuss the Qur’anic references as well as Hadith that pertain to this night. Make sure they understand the paramount value of this night and have them reflect how they can take advantage of it. This would also be a good time to share your own experiences with them. Give your children a chance to ask any questions they may have and allow them to share their thoughts with you.
- Sincere prayer all night long in hopes of all sins to be forgiven,
- Praying this night is better than praying 1000 months,
- Angel Gibrel descended from the heavens,
- Peace fills the night until dawn,
- Understand that by having the night’s date concealed from its believers is a test from Allah, and true believers will strive to pray and worship throughout the last 10 days of Ramadan,
- A Muslim must strive for the greatest reward by working hard and worshiping consistently with one’s family.
- Observe the night based on Sunnah. Decide what you will do ahead of time: Have your children review the Surahs and Du’as that are traditionally read on this night (Surah al Ad Qadr). Compile a list of various types of worship that you will be performing such as: Salaat, Du’a, reading Quran. For younger children, assigning a reward for each task they complete on this list is a good way to encourage them.
- Stay up all night,
- Not have marital relations,
- Praying all night to seek the rewards in hopes to have all sins forgiven,
- Learn the du’a specific to this night,
- Do not partake in actions, innovations, or activities that are not supported with hadith and seen as bid’ah.
Practical Ways to Involve Kids during Layletul-Qadr
Ponn: While some tips are redundant for Tips for Parents When Taking Kids to the Masjid for Taraweeh, sister Saba shares her perspective and experience. Therefore, we recommend you read both articles as they compliment one another.
- Be prepared: if you plan on spending the night in the masjid pack everything you will need to keep your children comfortable and busy. A change of clothing (or several), snacks, a blanket. I also prepare a special “masjid kit” for my daughter that includes crayons, paper, books (preferably Islamic ones), a portable CD player (and headphones) with nasheeds and Qur’an CDs and any other quiet, masjid appropriate toys for break time.
- Be Creative: prepare activities that children can do quietly by your side. Have them draw pictures of things they are thankful for, or work on a Ramadan collage. Older children can start a Ramadan diary in which they write their thoughts, experiences and goals for Ramadan. This is also a good way to chart progress throughout the month.
- Worship together: Have children participate in Salaat with you and read Qur’an together. For little ones who are learning how to count, have them practice by giving them the task of keeping track of the rakahs. I also enjoy the feeling of having my toddler sit in my lap with her little hands resting on mine while we make Du’a together. It never seizes to amaze me how long she will remain sitting just to share these moments with me.
- Eliminate distractions: Keep your children close to you. Do not allow them to run around with other children. This usually results in a noisy situation that affects others who are trying to worship. Explain to your children that it is part of the etiquette of the masjid to keep their voices down.
- Make a list of rules: go over the dos and don’ts with your children ahead of time. Have them reiterate the rules while you write them down on a list to make sure they understand.
- Plan sleep times: wake up your kids earlier than usual on the morning of Layletul Qadr. Inshaallah, this will result in them napping during the day. This way they won’t tire easily in the night. If your children need a break to sleep for a while during the night, have them do so. Cranky, exhausted children will surely make it hard for everyone to worship.
- Make it worth their while: most children will jump at the opportunity to get to stay up past bedtime. Tell them that on this special night they get to do this. Having to go to bed is usually an effective consequence for inappropriate behavior. Make sure your children understand that as long as they are being productive (Salaat, Du’a, Quran, prescribed activities) they are allowed to stay up with the “big people”.
- For children who find it hard to remain seated or stationary for long periods of time, involve them in productive tasks that will give them a chance to move around. When my daughter gets the wiggles at the masjid (or even at home) I busy her in doing helpful jobs such as picking up things from the floor, arranging chairs, offering snacks and drinks to others.
- Make it a group event: Older children often draw motivation from having their friends and family participate in a task with them. As such, one of the youth groups I was involved in had a special Layletul Qadr program for youth. The night’s activities were pre-arranged and organized with a well qualified elder to guide them through the night.
We welcome new additions as well as your thoughts and comments, please share below!
Saba Umer resides in Illinois, where she spends the majority of her time being the “Imaam’s wife” to a wonderful community of believers. She grew up in Canada where she completed her studies in Health Sciences and Humanities and is now a teacher, writer, inspirational speaker and most importantly a mom, wife and daughter. To read more of her thoughts and unique experiences during Ramadan, click here.
- How to Search for Laylatul Qadr and Its Significance
- Ramadan Activities for Kids
- Reflections for Ramadan and Eid 2011 Muslim Blogpost Series
- Tips for Parents When Taking Kids to the Masjid for Taraweeh
- Let’s Start Ramadan 2011 – A 35-Day Ramadan & Eid How-To Guide