It’s normal for children to go through a stage at some time in their lives when they become more conscious about their surroundings, especially when it concerns their peers. This often happens when they reach pre-school stage and mix with other kids their age, and when they talk to each other about different things. In most cases, this continues as they grow older.
You might have heard things like “Mom, my friend just bought this very cool video game! I want to have it too!” or “My friend came to school with a new backpack today! It would be so cool to have one like that.” Now the challenge for us, parents, is to teach our children about the importance of being grateful for what they already have – which is not limited to material things – and avoid obsessing about those that they don’t have (although other people might have them).
Gratitude is a tricky subject to teach to our children, especially when they are still young. However, this is also a perfect time to start teaching this concept to them since kids typically have excellent memory maashaAllah and what you teach them at this age would stick in their minds until they grow up, inshaaAllah.
Let’s look at our precious gems from the Quran that we can use to teach our children about the concept of gratitude:
“If you tried to number Allah’s blessings, you could never count them. Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Surah An-Nahl: 18)
“…Worship Allah and be among the thankful.” (Surah Az-Zumar: 66)
There are numerous ways to teach kids about the concept of shukr or gratitude. Start by opening the Quran and reading the two verses above along with the translation. In addition, stories from the lives of the prophets are full of lessons about gratitude that our children can learn from.
There also many kinds of activities that we can do to engage our children. Here are some suggestions to help you get started:
- Teach your children the meaning of “Alhamdulillah” and the importance of saying it every day.
- Encourage them to develop a habit of making du’a daily (before and after eating, before sleeping and upon waking up, after rainfall, etc.)
- Teach them the importance of sadaqah. Ramadan is coming very soon, so it’s the perfect time to demonstrate this concept to them.
- Choose one day to take your kids to pay a visit to an orphanage. Let your children observe closely how they live and play, and you can also organize activities that they can participate in. Talk about how they’re very lucky to have parents and they should be grateful to Allah because of this. Also, remind your children that Rasulullah SAW was an orphan too and teach them the importance of loving and caring for orphans.
- Start a “Shukr (Gratitude) Tree” Project at home. Draw (or print) a picture of a tree on a large piece of paper (drawing block size or bigger). Every day, we can ask our kids to write something that they are grateful for on a piece of colored sticker/post-it note and stick it on the tree (I personally like round shaped stickers because they would look like fruits on the tree J). Watch the fruits grow more and more! Remind your children about what Allah has said about the countless blessings in the above verse (verse 18 of Surah An-Nahl).