Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine


RABI-UL-AWWAL / RABI - U - THANI
MAY 2004
Volume 17-05 No : 209
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Summer of Content

Summer of Content

What can be more worthwhile than giving the Gift of Quality Time to your children
during this summer vacation? How about a family Jamaat?

By A Staff Writer

Gone are the days when summer holidays meant playing and having fun at home or at grandma’s place. Generation next, faces a tougher life and has to contend with stress and depression due to increased aggression and degradation of values.

Summer vacation is the right time for parents to start worrying about spending quality time with their children. As an escape route, many parents send their family to a native place or take them for a short vacation to any hill station. But that is not spending quality time with the growing children which is so essential for the overall development of the children particularly the moral and spiritual development.

Plan a special weekly event:

Try organising one weekly treat that you all do together. Bring your kids in on the act, and ask them where they want to go this weekend. It may be the zoo, it may be an outing or it may just be going shopping to get them a new dress. But it is a great idea to go on an outing with them on a regular basis. If you do find yourself going out to get a fairly mundane shopping task out of the way, stop off for ice cream, or to feed the birds in the park on the way home. These little treats will be exciting for your kids and will remind you that it can be fun to be a parent.

Abdul Bari, 34, a Chartered accountant, always spend weekends with his two sons.

“Watching your children carefully throw crumbs from stale bread to a clamouring flock of birds can be a surprisingly poignant experience. I find my son’s innocent excitement very touching and a great subject for a candid family photo” said he.

“Quality time spent with a child will make a more positive, longer-lasting impression”, says Dr Aisha Khan, a family therapist and practising child psychologist. "Every minute that a parent spends one-on-one with each child that they have is like money in the bank in terms of reinforcing their relationship," Aisha said. "I think it can certainly decrease the possibility or the probability of the children being involved in anti-social activities, drug abuse and other undesirable behaviour as they get older."

Aisha said a recent study showed that parents in 1965 spent an average 30 hours per week in direct contact with their children, while parents in 2000 spent only 14 hours each week. Other research indicates families today spend much more time watching television. "We're spending more time in front of the TV than in front of our children," Aisha said. "But that's okay if you're watching a program and interacting with your child as you're watching."

Involve Children in household activities:

Aisha suggests other activities to create better interaction. "Children like to be like mother and father," she said. "So if you enjoy making chapatti, set up a session where your girl child helps you do the baking by putting the ingredients together and kneading the dough."

Reading session:

Shaikh Hannah read stories to her three children to help them build their vocabulary. “Activities with my elder son include playing or discussing sports with him” said Hannah. "For generations, a natural conversation topic between parents and their kids has been sports," Aisha said. "Talk about anything from the cricket series to recent matches and performances of individual and teams.

Starting regular interaction with your children:

Preach them through cool behaviour. Trying to appear "cool" in front of their peers during adolescence brings tremendous pressure on children. "Children often don't feel that their parents know what's cool and what's happening, so they turn to their peer group for the answers by trying to imitate them."

By starting regular interaction while their children are young, parents can ensure that their kids will use them as their role models and not their peer groups, Aisha said. "Time spent with children enhances the parent-child relationship, so that in their later life children will emulate their parents' values and attitudes -- and that makes the gift of time the greatest gift of all," Aisha added.

Show your children in simple ways that you love them.

Some fathers try to appeal to their children by showering them with gifts rather than giving of themselves. This may cause more harm than good. The simple example of Prophet Muhammad is much better, may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him. When his daughter Fatima (May Allah be pleased with her) would come to him, the Prophet used to stand up, kiss her, take her hand, and give her his seat. Later in life, this personal type of affection will be much more memorable to children than receiving a gift that anyone could have given them.

* Tell or read your children stories on some nights before bed.

There are lots of excellent Islamic stories and books available that you can use, or you can make up your own. At the same time, you will be helping your children develop Islamic character.

* Play with your children

You could play ball, color pictures, build toy houses from blocks, or do whatever they like. Let your children help you with simple tasks. Prophet Mohammed (Pbuh) was especially fond of children and used to get into the spirit of childish games in their company. He would have fun with the children who had come back from Abyssinia and tried to speak in Abyssinian with them. It was his practice to give lifts on his camel to children when he returned from journeys. (Bukhari, Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 2 p.886).

Practice talking with your child, not at him/her.

We only have one chance to be with our kids before they grow up. If we want them to love us and respect us when we are old, we have to build those relationships while they are young.

Help your children with their homework

Show them that you are truly interested in their education and life by asking them what they did in school and looking at their books, projects, and assignments with them.

Have regular meals as a family

Praying together

If at home, praying together as a family Jamaat is better than praying alone. Children love to call azan. Make the youngest one the salat manager at home, taking care of prayer rugs, timing, and inviting everyone to salat. Take your children to the Masjid with you

This is an excellent way for you to build a relationship with them as both as a parent and Muslim.

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