There is a good difference between teaching Deen and making your child love Deen. Teaching comes very easily; you have to instruct your children to pray, greet with peace, to be honest at all times, and to avoid all kinds of sins. They will practise it as long as they are under your supervision, but it cannot be guaranteed in your absence. In order to make them really want to do the righteous acts you have to instil love for the Deen in their hearts. Don’t scare them with imaginary beings.
It is the most common practise in our society that, as adults, we are prone to scaring kids using imaginary beings with some horrible made-up names. It temporarily solves the problem, but in the long run, it will not do any good. First of all, it will make your child feel deceived when he or she will discover that a scary being as such never existed. Then, it will make your child think that it is alright to lie; and then, they might lie to you as well for small and big matters. Lastly, they will never get to realize the Greatness of Allah (swt).
Instead, tell them about Allah (swt), the Most Merciful, the Most Gracious. If it is about finishing their homework, tell them that since Allah (swt) has blessed them with the opportunity to study at a school, they should thank Him by finishing their school work. If you want them to finish their food, or eat a particular dish they don’t like, tell them about how Allah (swt) will be pleased if he or she eats the food Allah (swt) has blessed your family with.
Increase their trust in Allah (swt)
Increasing your children’s trust in Allah (swt) will help to make their perception about the Judgement Day, the existence of Hell and Paradise stronger. Start doing it from a very young age. Each time they are worried, tell them that Allah (swt) is with them at all times. When your children are afraid to go to school because you will not be there, let them know that even though you can’t be there, Allah (swt) will be looking after them. This makes the existence of Allah (swt) more real to children, and they start feeling protected by Allah (swt).
Make them realize their value in the sight of Allah (swt)
We all know and must believe that Allah (swt) loves each one of us more than anyone else in this world. Children will only know that when they will persistently hear from their parents. Also, for this reason, you need to avoid taunting your children about something they are not good at, or scold them unnecessarily.
Let your children know that Allah (swt) loves them more than you do or anyone else does. Make them realize the blessings Allah (swt) has showered them with. Let them know that the happiness they receive is by the blessings of Allah (swt), and that is only because they mean a lot to Allah (swt).
Don’t shun them for wrong deeds
When you catch children doing something wrong, don’t shun them or isolate them. Instead ask them to repent and rectify their mistakes. Explain to them why it is wrong to commit a sin, or to go against the commandments of Allah (swt); and that Allah (swt) is the most forgiving if they decide not to repeat their mistake.
Rewards are more effective than punishments
It is very easy to punish your children, and punishments will eventually stop your children from doing the wrong act; but better than this is to reward them for the good deeds. By rewarding, you will increase the chances of them going good deeds again.
The reward does not have to be materialistic all the time. You can juggle between rewarding with a toy, chocolate, their favourite food, reading them their favourite book, playing a game with them that they enjoy or simply encouraging them with words.
Do what you preach
‘Do what you preach’ is the most important rule that parents forget to apply when teaching their children anything. Children learn more from your actions than from your words. If you tell them that we are not supposed to lie, then you should be careful of not lying as well. If you ask them to perform the prayers on time, then they must see you doing the same.
Allow open and friendly discussions
You can only expect your children to take you seriously, if they have that trust that you are not trying to boss them- but rather, you care for them. Take some time out every day to sit and talk to your children. Let them be open enough to discuss their doubts and confusions, especially when it comes to the Deen. Do your best not to show your irritation even if you do get irritated by their questions. Of course, there always have to be this certain boundary that you will have to maintain; but, as long as, they are really serious about asking a question, you don’t have to be too hard on them.
Randomly tell them prophetic stories
I have heard this complaint from a lot of parents that their kids enjoy listening to stories; but whenever they take that opportunity to tell them Islamic tales, they quickly lose their interest, and the whole purpose of telling that story gets destroyed.
My advice is to start the story in a general manner. You don’t have use the name of the Prophet right at the start of the story. Start with telling the story and try to grasp your child’s interest with the whereabouts of the story. Whenever we are telling kids stories of the Prophets, we focus more on their names and less on the moral of the story; whereas. children are always more interested in what the story is all about. So, once you have gained the attention get to the name of the Prophet.
Introduce them to the words of Allah (swt)
Making your children learn and memorize the Quran is an excellent act. But, along with that make them understand the meaning of the verses they recite is important. Quran has covered all topics related to our lives. What could be a better way to educate your children than with the words of Allah (swt).
Instilling Deen in your child’s heart is easier said than done. But, if you do it with pure intentions, Allah (swt) is sure to help you. May Allah (swt) be pleased with all the efforts you put in to bring up a pious offspring. Ameen.