Wednesday, May 18, 2011

How to Get Your 10-Year-Old up for Fajr by: Grandma Jeddah

     Parents sometimes have a difficult time getting their older children up for Fajr. Some scholars suggest using hitting as a last rather than first resort for children aged 10 and older. Here are some alternative methods to hitting when trying to encourage your child to wake up for Fajr.    
   The first thing to remember is that developing a good habit of praying begins early.  It’s important to start getting your child in the habit when he’s around 7- years- old like the hadith says.  That way, he’ll be more conscious and determined about praying when he reaches 10, Insha’Allah.  He may not pray every prayer when he reaches 7 years- old or pray perfectly, but this period is training for him.             Insha’Allah, a pattern will develop in his heart and mind.
           The second thing is to make sure you pray Fajr regularly.  Even though your kids may not be up late at night to pray, you’d be surprised at how observant they are.  Sometimes when they get up to go to the bathroom or they’re having a hard time getting back to sleep they might hear you rustling about preparing for salat.  On occasion, they might even see you making Fajr in the pre-dawn hours.  Being a good example is one of the greatest reinforcements for your child.
            Third you want to make sure he’s getting enough rest by going to bed on time.  That way, waking up early will be much easier on his body physically and mentally.
            Fourth, use a calm and gentle voice when you try to wake him up.  Who wants to wake up to a harsh, gruff voice shouting at him?  All you’d feel like doing is turning over on the other side, crawling up under your covers and going back to sleep. 
            The fifth thing is to give him a gentle tickle as you call his name to wake him up.  It’s an annoyance, but a kind one, early in the morning.
            The sixth thing is to remove the covers from him so he can’t pull them back up.  This makes him uncomfortable so that his sleep isn’t as enticing.
            This sixth method is the one that I’ve used with great success.  Get yourself a spray bottle, it can be a used one from your daughter’s hair detangler or you can purchase a bottle.  Make sure it sprays a mist and not a stream.  After you've called his name a few times and tried to wake him up, if he still remains in bed squirt a light mist above his head so that it gently falls on him face.  This usually works on the first spray but you may have to do it a couple of times.  If he covers his head with his sheet and holds tight, spray his feet next time. After a few days of this, just the sound of you shaking the water bottle will be enough to alarm him to get up, insha'Allah.  Or, sometimes you can even warn, "Get up so I don’t have to get the spray bottle."
            Keep in mind that if you have the type of child who has uncontrollable fits of anger, using a spray bottle might be counterproductive, because he may wake up swinging him arms in a cantankerous mood. 
            The seventh thing is to make an incentive chart using stars as rewards for good behavior.   Place a star on the chart whenever he makes Fajr.  After he’s earned a certain number of stars, give him a treat or take him somewhere special.  This might encourage him to even look forward to making Fajr when he lies down to sleep at night.
            Let’s summarize the points
1.      make sure to start getting him in the habit around 7 years old.
2.      Make you’re a good example and make Fajr regularly.
3.      Try to get him to bed early so he’ll be rested when it’s time for Fajr.
4.      Use a comforting voice when waking him.
5.      Try tickling him when you call his name.
6.      Remove his covers for less comfort.
7.      Try squirting a light mist of water on him.
8.      Use an incentive chart to encourage him to get up by giving him stars for
           praying Fajr prayer.

For more information on making obeying easier and discipline simpler without hitting, shouting or shaming, visit Grandma Jeddah’s website at:

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