So you don’t think you have enough time to teach your young toddler? Think again! As a busy mother of a very active 2-year old, I have always been trying to find ways of cultivating good Islamic habits in my child. Between the household chores, social commitments and working from home, I find that that I must literally grab hold of ‘nuggets’ of time to help her develop her Islamic knowledge. Here’s some of the ways to use those little precious bits of time in the day: Storytime It is very beneficial to get your child into a habit of reading from a very young age. I now try and read books to her every night before I put her to sleep. As a result, she loves books and I find that she never wants me to put the books away before she goes to sleep! Earlier on, I had got her the usual popular books on the English alphabet and illustrated stories. But it wasn’t until I stumbled onto some great bilingual Arabic-English versions of some popular children’s story books that I started buying them to introduce her to Arabic. If Arabic is not your mother tongue, then you will need the Arabic vowel marks (called taskheel or Harakat) to aid your Arabic reading and pronounciation. Be particularly careful to buy only such books for your children which have tashkeel. When you start reading such books to your child everyday, you will find that you will also get a chance to brush up on your very own Arabic skills! Here are some books that I recommend, both of these have taskheel on the Arabic text:
  • Listen, Listen in Arabic and English – by Phillis Gershator and Alison Jay – This is a beautifully illustrated book also available in a bilingual Arabic and English version.
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar in Arabic and English [Paperback]Eric Carle (Author, Illustrator) – This is a very popular award-winning children’s picture book which has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide and is now available in a bilingual Arabic and English version.
Bedtime Qur’an Recitation There are many easy and valuable Qur’anic verses that we can read at bedtime, established from Sunnah:
  • the last 3 surahs of the Qur’an recited thrice,
  • the Ayat-ul-Kursi,
  • and the last two verses of Surah Baqarah.
I have now made it a habit to read these aloud to my child after reading her the bedtime stories as part of a wind-down routine. Once I start reading the verses to her, she asks to listen to more! As a result, I know inshaAllah that it is going to be so much easier for her to memorize these verses for her in about a year because I repeat them to her every day! Pray with Your Child Children pick up on all our habits both good and bad whether you want them to or not! It is always nice to get them to pick on your good habits like Salaah and Fasting. I once got my child a little ‘hijab’ and a mini prayer mat when on an Umrah trip, and now she asks for them each time she stands to pray with me. Children do have quite a short attention span so even if it is for a few seconds, I let my 2 year old stand with me and imitate the praying postures so that she gets comfortable with praying Salaah as she grows older. I would advise you, however, to never to force them to do so when they are so young like my 2 year old, otherwise it might become an unpleasant experience for them and drive them away from Salaah. Using your Time in the Car While in the car I usually sing nursery rhymes to her or the alphabet to my daughter. At two, she now knows and recognizes quite a few letters of the alphabet compared to children of similar age. However, I have now discovered a better option that I am yet to try but one that I recommend: my mother came up with the brilliant idea of getting a tape or a CD with Allah’s names being recited. Such tapes are widely available in Islamic bookstores. This is a wonderful idea since my child loves to hear rhymes but by listening to Allah’s names, we can avoid listening to any music on the radio and the both of us can memorize Allah’s names together! You can also try my sister’s way of reciting duas in a singsong voice to her boys to make them learn better, or if you live in an Islamic country, you can even try a game that my daughter loves – spot the mosque! Apps can help too! My child loves my iPhone as much as I do. So on the rare occasions that I do part with my beloved phone, I have downloaded some useful educational apps for her, so that she can learn while she plays! Here is a link to some apps for the iPhone which can help your child in learning Arabic.( Ultimately, there is so much more you can do when you get a bit of free time with your child. You can teach your child the different colours in Arabic and English when they are busy playing with their building blocks or when playing with their erasable magnetic drawing boards you can use them to teach your child letters in Arabic and English. For older children there are now excellent magazines available for with activities such as the Little Explorers Magazine ( or Islamic stories such as those from  Goodword Books ( We would love to hear from you about how you teach your children so please write back with your comments. May Allah bless us all with pious offspring and give us the ability to raise them into the best  Muslims of our Ummah. By: Haya Amiri Posted on: June 15, 2011