Alhamdulillah that Allah has blessed us with winter again. It’s a season my children eagerly anticipate for as the summers are long and harsh in Arabia. Alhamdulillah for all the pleasure and relief that Allah blesses us in winter. However, there is a bigger blessing that comes with winter which we often do not realize. After you read these ideas you will inshaAllah never want to miss out these blessings. And as you work alongside your children this winter to boost their iman you will realize that you can’t do it without you being inspired and motivated first. Works for children, works for Mumma!
So let’s get straight into it…. or may be grab a cup of hot tea if you’d like, I’ll wait 🙂
Alright then…. First things first.
Developing a habit for FAJR
The obligatory duties come before anything and everything else. So one of the best things about winter is the late onset of Fajr. This is a wonderful opportunity to train those young children who are still struggling to wake up for Fajr or who aren’t into it yet at all. If they go to school then wake them up at least ten minutes earlier so that they can pray Fajr before getting ready for school. It’s not the same in the summer, is it?
There can be a counter productive element here, but it can be resolved with few easy ideas. It’s not quite easy for young children to get up from their warm and cozy bed and walk up to the washroom for wudhu’ on chilly winter mornings. Now, it’s your job to make Fajr as comfortable as you can for your little ones. Prepare few things well ahead at night and you will have a pleasant Fajr inshaAllah. Ask your children every night before they go to bed to keep their slippers, winter robes, or whatever they use to keep themselves warm close to bed. So that as soon as they are up in the morning and out of their blanket they are as warm as toast. The girls would want to add the khimar/ hijab in the list too. Make sure to turn on the water heater at night for a while so that your children can have warm water for wudhu’ in the morning and do not freeze after walking out of the washroom (like myself). Keep the room/ home warm with room heaters if you use one.
FASTING… It’s not Ramadan!?
Our children should know that fasting is a year long deed (not continuous though) and not limited just to Ramadan.
The Prophet (prayers and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “The cold (easy) booty is observing fast in winter.” [Reported by At-Tirmidhi as Mursal, authenticated by Al-Albani].
Fasting in winter will make them confident and give them opportunity to practice for upcoming Ramadan too – inshaAllah. School going children can fast during weekends or winter break. Children will love the easy fastings in winter – no thirsty feeling, no long days.
Don’t forget to reward them with hot chocolate after iftar once in a while 🙂
And well, if you have your missed obligatory fasts that you need to make up then what better opportunity than fasting with your children together. So as you make up for your obligatory fasts your children learn to do voluntary fasts!
Extra NIGHT PRAYERS
“They used to sleep but little by night [invoking their Lord (Allâh) and praying, with fear and hope]” [Az-Zariyat 51: 17].
Since the nights begin early in the winter you have a good opportunity to pray extra night prayers after Salat al-Isha with your children. You can look into Mushaf and pray if you are not so sure about reciting long chapters in your Salah. Night prayer is a reinforcement of the Hifdh your children are doing. Reciting Surahs that they are familiar with will help them stay engaged in the Salah too. Make sure not to make your Salah very long though. Consider the age and attention span of your children. At a young age it’s not about how many rakah or for how long they do it but it’s about giving them the opportunity to worship Allah more than they usually do. Your children will not be motivated to pray extra if you haven’t discussed with them the merits and virtues of night prayers. So your first step is to grab a book, read an article, watch a video about it or the best way is to open up the Quran and read various passages about night prayers WITH your children. You will be surprised that they will seem to be more excited than you – inshaAllah. This is one of the best ways to have immense tranquility, blessing and happiness within your home, family and yourself.
Ibn Mas’oud (may Allah be pleased with him) said:
“Welcome winter; it is the time where blessings descend, nights lengthened for prayer and days shortened for fasting.”
READING more together
What is more cosier than snuggling up with your children on bed for reading together? We’re talking about reading Islamic books here since our intention is to uplift our children’s iman this season. You may visit your local library and grab some books or buy some so that you can read every day (or every night) with your children. Remember to encourage them to reflect, spark a discussion, ask good questions, share thoughts, make connections of text with their lives and implement what they learn. You may be interested in reading the few ebooks that I have for you here.
Count your BLESSINGS
Gratefulness is a key trait of a believer. It is important to raise our children to be grateful individuals. Here is a simple yet fun and effective activity to help your children develop a grateful attitude. Everyday for one month (or as long as you like) ask your children to remember and note down one blessing that they are grateful for especially in winter such as their warm blankets, hot milk, warm water, sweaters, etc. and note them down in the Gratefulness Sheet. Of course, you can use this strategy any time of the year or all throughout the year. Let them write on the right column of the sheet how would it be without that blessing. This will give them a true and deeper sense of gratefulness to Allah.
(Remember to print two copies for a whole month)
SHARE your blessings
Charity is a sequel to gratitude. As your children count their blessings for the Grateful Sheet activity remind them that there are very many children without these blessings out there and how life is like for them in winter. Ask your children to share from the blessings that they have with those in need. Accompany your children as they rummage through their cupboard or storage to find things that they no longer use… perhaps a sweater that’s small, extra blanket, winter cap or pairs of socks. If you can’t find anything extra then take them to a nearest store and buy something that will warm someone up this winter. Share with someone who is in need locally or reach out to desperate refugees overseas.
Charity takes many forms. Children should especially be aware of this as they are not always capable of spending wealth or possessions. Our beloved Prophet (sal-Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “Every act of kindness is charity.” (Sahih al-Bukhari). You can teach your children to be charitable by being considerate of others and being kind to them. They may cover their cold sibling with a blanket, warm your tea or coffee in the microwave, close the window to stop the freezing breeze entering the home or help you prepare a delicious warm soup to share with poor or a sick neighbour.
Discuss the rewards of giving charity from Quran and Sunnah so that being generous and kind becomes a lifelong part of your children’s personalities.
To make doing good deeds all more interesting and motivating for children I have made this Winter Reward Chart Alhamdulillah! Put a star or a check mark each time your child does a good deed from the winter plan and reward them when they reach the finish line! But don’t forget to tell them that reaching finishing line does not mean the deeds should be stopped! The deeds that are most beloved to Allah are those that are consistent.
May Allah bless us and our deeds in the winter and allow us to do more for His sake. Ameen.
[PS: In this post, I had previously mentioned and praised the book ‘I wonder about Allah’ that we were reading. However, I would not recommend that book anymore as the chapter “Where is Allah?” does not adhere to the creed/ aqeedah of Ahlus-Sunnah wal Jama’ah. As Ahlus-Sunnah we believe Alhamdulillah that Allah is above the seven heavens, while the book held the heretic opinion that Allah is both nowhere and everywhere, SubhanAllah.]