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The Plight of Children’s Reading in War-Torn Countries

 

For most of us here, war is a nightmare we only experience through print and the media. In other parts of the world, war is a nightmare people are forced to live in against their will. They can’t press pause on the horrific events playing out in their lives the way we can pause a television programme. There are no breaks, no “time-outs” where they can take a breather and gather their thoughts on what they’re going through. War is like a fast-moving locomotive; if you happen to be standing on the tracks with no way of getting away from it, you have no choice but to face what’s coming until it passes by.

In a war-torn country, it takes a lot of strength to prioritize things like education. It’s difficult enough to manage your own survival in the midst of the ongoing strife. With bombs and ammunition raining down around you, the subject of books and reading lie far away from your foremost thoughts. The story of Malala Yousafzai– notably what she went through for her education would bring tears to anybody’s eyes. She was merely 14 years old when she was shot in the head for fighting for the right to a proper education. One can only imagine the horrors children her age (and quite possibly younger) had to face just so they can attend school. This is not just something that is happening in one location. Horrifyingly, it is a common and ongoing plight in various countries around the world.

The following are some words taken from the children of Syria, victims of a terrifying ordeal that has been going on since 2011 :

“You can’t imagine what I’ve seen. What Syria has seen…Please help us. I am asking people around the world who can, please help us,” Ali, 12 years old

“I ask the leaders all around the world to save the children in Syria, save them from all the shelling. Children need medicine. We need clothes, and food. Every child should play and be happy. I am worried about the future. What will happen to us? Where will we go?” Hassan, 14 years old

“Some men came to our village. I tried to escape, but they took me to jail. Except it wasn’t a jail– it was my old school. It’s ironic– they took me there to torture me, in the same place I used to go to school to learn. They had taken over the school and made it into a torture centre.” Khalid, 15 years old

Those are quotes from 3 children– only 3 out of about 3.3 million children living in the midst of the crisis, cut off completely from education. Who knows how many more children there are living through the savagery? How many more are unaccounted for?  What has happened since those quotes were recorded? The extent of our knowledge on their plight only goes as far as the limits set by our reading materials. We are not living in their nightmare. What we have imagined might not even begin to touch the reality of their situation.

For the past four years, the Syrian children have been caught in the middle of a raging storm of barrel bombs, chemical warfare, siege, starvation, mass torture and who knows what else. With all of that going on in their lives, and their own survival at stake, is there even a time and place for them to manage their education? Most of them are stranded and displaced from their families and their homes. Unlike us, there is barely anyone to take them by the hand and guide them through life. The situation is especially sad for the younger ones, because having not lived for very long before the crisis began, all they know is what they’re going through and nothing much else. Their future is bleak, and will remain that way for as long as the crisis is in effect.

A recent report by the Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights says the Israeli army has detained 740 Palestinian minors– some as young as 8– in the Occupied West Bank during the first two months of 2014. That is only within TWO months. Most of the charges held against these children are linked to throwing stones or being active in demonstrations. These children aren’t deliberately indulging in what we might deem delinquent behavior for the fun of it, they are fighting for the rights to a better life and future.

In our country, we have learning opportunities in spades. We do not have to fight for the rights to a proper education. Our children are able to develop and learn with ease, unburdened with the monstrosities children trapped in battle zones are faced with. We live in comfortable homes, unfettered with the prospect or war-inflicted ordeals like starvation. It is our duty to send our help to these children and their families, for they are not in a position where they can help themselves.

That is the reason behind Genius Aulad’s READING MISSION FOR SYRIA-PALESTINE, which will commence on the 27th of March till the 9th of April 2014. We aim to spread and instill the habit of reading among the children of the world. We believe that no child should be deprived of the ability to read and learn. On our mission, we will be sharing our Starter Words Reading Series among the children of Palestine and Syrian camps in Jordan. This mission is a joint programme with Islamic Relief Malaysia and TV3. We hope that you can spare us a du’a so we will have a safe return from our journey, InsyaAllah.

The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “The best gift that a father can bestow upon his son is to arrange good education and training for him.” [Mishkat]

What of the children who have no one to guide them in these trying times? As brothers and sisters in Islam, it is our duty to provide our troubled fellow Muslims with the help that they need. Let’s us pray for the plight of our Muslim brothers and sisters in distress to end. Amiin.

Open Children’s Eyes to the World

“Open our children’s eyes
to the WORLD AROUND them,
not just to the WORLD WITHIN them.
The earth is ROUND,
Beyond the SQUARE of a classroom,
Beyond the SQUARE of a laptop screen. ”
- READ FOR CHILDREN OF THE WORLD , Genius Aulad.

Gone are the times where we live a life revolved solely around the community we are in direct contact with. Times have changed. Barriers that separate us from the outside world are close to being non-existent. There is so much more to see, to learn, to feel and to experience. We now possess the ability to reach out to people, and in a multitude of ways. We have been generously blessed with a wealth of convenience. We can travel to faraway countries in the matter of hours, or a few days at the most. We can talk to people who are in outer space. We can send money and other things from the comfort of our own home to people around the world. To the people of the past, we are close to “superhero” status. With all that also comes a greater responsibility. Back then, we were only capable of caring for those who are near to us. Now, our ‘family’ has grown so much bigger. We cannot live our life in isolation. We have to broaden our hearts and minds, and learn to see the world beyond our own.

It is highly important that we broaden the horizon and globalize the mindset of our little ones. We have to teach them that there is so much more to life beyond their fancy gadgets, beyond the four walls they usually spend their time confined in, and even beyond their home. Why spend hours on end watching television programmes depicting children playing with their friends in the neighbourhood park? There’s nothing wrong with these programmes, really, but why not do that in real life instead of experiencing it through a small screen? Why spend hours on cooking apps on an iPad when you can spend a little bit of time whipping something up in the kitchen as a family?

As parents and educators, it is highly advised that we involve our children in more hands-on activities, rather than depend on digitally stimulated real-life activities. This is so they will establish a greater connection with real life, and in effect, understand the way things work with a greater depth. When children are connected to something, they will be able to understand it with comparatively more ease and see things pertaining it from a better perspective. Perhaps trips to places where the children can involve themselves will do them a lot of good. For example, we have taken our students to orphanages where they interacted with the orphans and learned how to feel compassionate towards others and grateful for what they are blessed with. It truly was a humbling thing to witness and experience. More recently, we have taken our children to some of the beautiful mosques in our country where they can marvel at the beautiful architecture and carry out the adaab of visiting a mosque we have been teaching them in school. InsyaAllah, we will go to an equally mind-stimulating place on the Educational Trip coming up.

Storybooks and rhymes can go a long way in fostering an imaginative and broad mind. When we immerse ourselves in stories of faraway lands, various cultures and societies, be it real or fictional, we are pushing the circumference of our mind from what it’s used to outwards, creating even bigger space to make room for critical thinking and understanding. This is one of the main reasons why we put so much effort in Story Telling. Behind the fun and drama is a plethora of mind boosters and eye openers. When we expose our little ones to stories, we are expanding their view of the world and presenting them with new adventures to undertake. We are teaching them how to empathize with others and be more understanding and accepting of people who are not like them.

Some of you may have heard of our latest READ FOR CHILDREN OF THE WORLD MISSION in Syrian and Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan. We have returned from our mission safely, Alhamdulillah. The version of us that left for the mission is different than the people we have become upon our return. We return to our own soil humbled, grateful and determined to do anything and everything we can to help from here. One of the ways that we intend on doing that is by directing more attention their way, and raising awareness about their devastatingly ongoing strife. We hope that the children entrusted into our care will see that there is more to life beyond what their life seems to revolve around at the moment. We intend on opening their eyes to the fact that the Muslim community is vast, and consists of Muslims that are of different races, cultures, ages, sizes and whatever attributes beyond what they are used to. We intend on fostering the spirit of goodwill and compassion in their tender, young souls.

None of us are meant to be alone, neglected and ignored in the face of adversity. As members of the Muslim brotherhood, it is our duty to look after and care for one another. When we are knocked down, we need the help of others, do we not? Let us not halt the chain of kindness among us. If we open our hearts to do something good for someone in need, regardless if they are complete strangers or not, then surely the good deed will be given to you when you are in need, InsyaAllah.

Prophet Muhammad implores us not to be selfish, and instead, to have a spirit of love and giving in the following hadith :

Truly The Faithful Are To One Another Like Components Of A Building—Each Part Supports The Other.

Our Prophet directs us to cooperate, support, and help each other. We are to do so to the fullest extent so that we build a strong and wholesome society. Each of us is a tiny part of a huge society and if we strive to live Islamicly, our society will reach a high level of excellence, justice, and brotherhood, InsyaAllah.

Therefore, dear parents. Let us send a prayer to our Muslim brothers and sisters who are in need. Let us open the eyes of our children and teach them to do the same. Let us make them see that despite being just a tiny part of something big, if all of us come together and help each other out, we can make our Muslim brotherhood much stronger than it has ever been, InsyaAllah.

The Wonders of Story Telling

We are phenomenally blessed to live in a time so modern, so convenient that almost anything is within our reach. However, somewhere along the way, some of the treasures of the past have been left behind. In this article, we will put the spotlight on what we feel is a lost and underappreciated art, which is the art of Story Telling.

Stories are meant to be shared. They can be told in many forms, be it in print or various other forms of the media. These days, there are audio books, e-books, apps and other modern variations of story telling in existence. While they are amazing and easy to use, they don’t provide the kind of connection and depth old-fashioned Story Telling might.

When one tells another a story, it is almost as good as having the characters involved tell you the story themselves. There is a profound beauty to Story Telling, for it does not only tell you what happens in the story, but it feels so much more heartfelt that you can’t help but be more engaged and involved in the story. There is a magical bond, if only for a moment, between the story teller and his/her audience. Through telling a story, one is able to reach out and draw the listener in. It is difficult to not be swept away and feel like you are a part of something remarkable, a part of the great adventure that is being told.

When one tells a story, it involves a lot of gestures and voice play. The story being told feels more alive and captivating, and it’s easier to visualize and really immerse one’s self into it. The listener is able to fully understand what is being told, so it’s not just a one dimensional experience.
Because of all of these amazing qualities it possesses, Story Telling is an entertainingly effective form of Dakwah. Let’s say you want to tell your little one about our Prophet (peace be upon him). Would it be better to let them read on their own, or tell them the story yourself?

While apps are excellent tools, we should refrain from letting them spend so much time on electronic devices because they are still so young and these gadgets can cause some damage to their developing minds and bodies, especially when it comes to their eyesight and their spatial awareness. Most parents these days, due their busy lifestyle, are prone to giving their children gadgets to entertain themselves with. They may buy books for their children, but they don’t take the time to sit down and read with them. These days, children mostly engage in solitary activities where they just play on their own. It feels so disconcerting to see the disconnection between parent and child these days. We understand that sometimes things are so hectic that it is nearly impossible to spend as much time as we want to with our children, but we should set aside some quality time with our children. What better way to spend it by having 15 to 20 minutes of nightly story telling sessions with our children? We should bring back the bedtime story time our parents used to spend with us when we were children.

Ever since our establishment as an Islamic kindergarten, we have been engaged in Story Telling and have put in effort to spread this wonderful activity anywhere and anytime we can. We have regular Story Telling sessions with our students, and it doesn’t just stop there. Our teachers have been to MPH bookstores nationwide to tell stories to the children that go there. These bookstores may be filled with various visitors of different backgrounds. Some of them don’t necessarily go there to buy books, but to read them there. They might not be able to afford any. It’s kind of like a library where they have access to any book they want without having to pay a fee. We just want to provide the children there with something that makes them feel loved and a part of something special. We also go to nearby orphanages to tell them stories and make them feel loved and cherished.

We are currently involved in our READ FOR CHILDREN OF THE WORLD MISSION in the camps in Jordan and Palestine. Alongside sharing our Starter Words books with the children, which Alhamdulillah is going well, we also engage in Story Telling activities with them. These children need love, support, and a little bit of excitement and magic in their lives, and what better way to connect with them through stories? We might not be fluent in their language, but through the words in the story we tell them, we are able to reach out to them and make them feel connected and understood, InsyaAllah.

Rasulullah s.a.w. said , “The best of charity is a Muslim who learns a knowledge and later teaches it to his Muslim brother.”

According to the hadith above, a person who learns a knowledge or skill and then teaches it to another person , even if it is one sentence, is highly regarded in Islam. If we teach our friend a certain skill, and he later teaches it to another friend, who also teaches it to another friend, imagine how many people can benefit from our act. We will not lose anything by sharing our knowledge, but only to bring us great rewards from Allah.

We believe in the idea that through story telling, we can reach out to anyone, be it our own children or the less fortunate. It is why we put so much emphasis on this activity and make sure that our teachers practice it regularly with our children. We are determined to reach out to all children and share our stories, knowledge and love, InsyaAllah.

Better Behaving Children

 

Salam dear parents. School can be a wondrous place, where all the learning and fun happens. Unfortunately, we can’t avoid children misbehaving themselves at school, and giving a hard time for their teachers, friends, and also parents. So, do keep your children in check so that their learning can be facilitated properly, and that they are in the best environment. Here’s a plan for encouraging appropriate behaviour.

As an experienced parent, you know that any rewarding experience motivates children to repeat the behaviour that earned them the reward. However, children who misbehave in school are actually “rewarded” for their poor behaviour. These rewards are not always obvious to parents and teachers. So, what are they

  • Extra attention from the teacher. Even though it’s negative attention, remember that children are hungry for all sorts of attention.

  • Classmates laughing at the misbehaviour, and even admiring the fact that he’s giving the teacher a hard time.

  • Delaying schoolwork—or getting out of it altogether.

The reason many children misbehave in school is not only because they get lots of attention and get out of work, though. They aren’t punished at home for misbehaving in school, either. Sometimes, that’s because parents don’t find out about the poor behaviour until they receive their child’s report card.

In order for parents to head off misbehaviour, they need to connect with their child’s school within the first couple of weeks. When parents and teachers work together, parents know on a daily basis how their child is behaving and apply the appropriate consequence at home.

To accomplish this, it is suggested that parents create a behaviour report card. The following is an example of what would be included on one:

  • Being kind and friendly to classmates

  • Listening and cooperating with your teacher

  • Following school rules

  • Showing good manners

  • No pushing, shoving or hitting in school

Parents can rely on this behavioural categories or create their own on an index card. Post it on the refrigerator so you can easily review it with your child before they head off to school. If you have a young child, run through the behaviour listed on the card just before she leaves for school. As you wish your child a good day, simply tell them: “Now, remember. I expect you to be kind and friendly, listen to your teacher, follow rules, show good manners and not hit or push.”

If you’re fortunate, just reminding your child of your expectations will be enough. However, if the teacher tells you that they’ve been misbehaving, you’ll have to be stricter by sending the report card to the teacher for grades. Good grades will result in rewards or special privileges at night. Poor grades might result in an earlier bedtime, no television and not getting to play after school. Though these consequences may sound harsh, the goal is to make the consequence so significant that your child thinks about it at school and is motivated to behave. At the end of a really good week, they can receive a grand prize.

Furthermore, parents can instil the values of Islam to ensure the best of Akhlaq is displayed by their children. One of the many ways to do this is to tell your child stories about the prophets and prophets’ companions. These stories will provide a lot of moral advice and lessons for the children that are easy to digest and understand for them to practice everywhere and every time. Remember, the best person to be made as an idol is Nabi Muhammad S.A.W. So do tell your children who he is and that they follow in his ways, his Sunnah.

In the old days, parents considered a teacher akin to another parent helping them raise their children. You might find it helpful to think of your child’s teacher as another parent, working with you to encourage appropriate behaviour from your child.

And Allah knows best,

3 Tips to Help Handwriting Skills

Salam, dear parents. The world we know today is bustling with all the latest and most modern technologies. Our gadgets can do almost anything. But despite all that, the skill that remains humble, remains important to us all, that is writing. One of the biggest challenges of the early school years is practicing printing skills. Good penmanship isn’t just a bragging right: Kids who can form letters better actually have an easier time expressing their thoughts on paper. Here’s how to get them started on the right path:

Get a grip
To be sure your child’s holding his pencil properly, check that his thumb and forefinger don’t overlap and that they’re forming a loose “o”, with the pencil resting on the middle finger. His wrist should be straight, not crooked at an angle (a common habit among lefties). Short pencils are the best for beginners — they’re easier to balance and aren’t as awkward as long or thick as the standard pencils. Apart from that, this also helps the children in writing Arabic alphabets or Jawi. This is because they are comparably harder to write than the standard alphabets because of its curves, and needs a proper grip to be written nicely and neatly.

Take it from the top
Encourage your child to make his letters with downward strokes — it’s neater than working his way from the bottom up. Vertical and horizontal lines are easier to write than diagonals or curves, so capitals like E, F, and T will be simpler at first than A or C. Mix it up a bit — and reinforce reading — by also practicing common sight words, such as “the,” “to,” “and,” “he,” “you,” “it,” “if,” “in,” “was,” and “said.”

Make it fun
Usually, children practice writing by tracing dotted words. But doing this all the time can be quite a drag. Instead, have them write their name in different colours or compose stories. Or maybe write out the lyrics of some songs.

Just like everything else, writing definitely gets better with practice! Therefore, do not fret if your children are a little bit slow. All they need is practice. But do keep in mind, they will only hate writing if you keep pushing them and putting pressure on them. On top of that, it is best if children are taught to start writing Islamic phrasessuch as “Bismillah”,”Alhamdulillah”, and such. All the best to everyone!

And Allah Knows Best,

-GA

Guide On Your Child’s Backpack

Salam dear parents. Have you ever heard your children complain about how they have to carry such heavy bags and that they are having a hard time lugging around the bags at school? Many children have to face this every day and unfortunately, this is not a new issue, but has been around for already quite some time. But parents all around do not take it that much seriously. In actuality, this problem can cause back pains, which is a serious problem, and can bring complications later in the child’s life. This article is especially useful for ourstudents who are entering Primary School, because they are adjusting themselves from the weight of a preschool bag to a real school bag. So, here a few ways to lighten the load;

Choose a backpack that has two wide straps with good padding to distribute the load evenly.

Adjust the height. Kids like to leave the straps loose so the bag hangs off their back. That may cause pain because the lower back is carrying all the weight, rather than the shoulders doing more of the work. Tighten straps so the bag is centered on the back, ideally above the lower curve of the spine.

Use both straps. The one-shoulder method may be cool, but it adds serious pressure and throws body alignment out of whack.

Weigh the bag. Plunk it on a scale, then have your kid step on (without the backpack). Do the math, and pull things out of the bag until you get the bag to be below 10% of your child’s weight. If he regularly has to carry more than he should, get him one of those rolling backpacks that he can pull.

Have them checked if your kid complains of back pain, even if it seems minor-talk to your doc. No amount of achiness is normal, and a physician can recommend strengthening exercises to help ease it.

Check their bags. Children bring all sorts of things to school. Their toys to show off to their friends, mommy’s make-up that they sneak inside their bags, and A LOT of stationeries. Clearly these things are not necessary. So, if they are making your child’s bag too heavy, do take them out.

Source: http://www.parenting.com/article/backpack-safety-tips

Your Child Doesn’t Like School?

Alhamdulillah, January is already towards the end. MasyaAllah, time flies so very fast without us even realizing it. Most of our kids probably have settled in with school and have adapted themselves with the schedule. Some might also say they love going to school! Alhamdulillah.. But for a few, they are still like when they were during the first days of school. Still throwing a tantrum and giving so many excuses when it comes to school. So, here we have some tips for you to read on about how to cope with children that screams and shouts when it comes to going to school.

BE PUNCTUAL

It’s not always easy to get anywhere on time with little kids, but it’s worth making an extra effort to be prompt on school days. A child may feel like an outsider if the others are already there, engaged in activities.

Children tend to feel uneasy if they arrive and they see that the classroom is already bustling. It’s much easier for them if we get there a bit early, especially on “high-risk” shyness days, such as the beginning of the school year and the first days back after vacation or illness.

Being on time at the end of the day is just as important. Standing alone while the other kids are happily reuniting with loved ones can cause a young child to worry that by going to school, they risk losing you  – or getting lost.

RAISE YOUR HAND

To the degree that your schedule permits, help out in the classroom, participate in fund-raising, read the school newsletter. Your involvement lets your child know that his school is a part of your world, too. More than that, volunteering helps you watch out for your child’s interests.

If you work full-time or for other reasons can’t make such a commitment, you can still be involved through after-school activities and fund-raising efforts. Let the school staff get to know your face. The more you make clear that you’re part of the team  – the more credible an advocate you can be for your child

QUIZ YOUR KID

To build strong connections between home and school, you need to have a sense of what’s going on in your child’s classroom. It’s best that you set aside a time to talk with your kids and give them undivided attention. In that time, remember to properly listen to what your child have to say.

But what if your child isn’t such an enthusiastic reporter? If your “What did you do in school today?” is answered with “Nothing,” you have plenty of company; most children don’t like to be quizzed. Plus, young ones may not even remember all of the day’s experiences. So ask small, undaunting questions that will help jog the memory: Did you get to play outside? What did you have for snack? What did you sing in music? And when your child does talk, be a good listener.

FACILITATE BONDING WITH OTHER KIDS

Kids need to feel bonded with at least one other child. Ask the teacher if she’s noticed who your child is hanging with.  Ask your child which kids he’d like to invite over to play. Do remember to teach them how to make friends. Help them in any ways you can if a problem comes up along the way in making new friends. Your child needs a companion. They wouldn’t be able to cope with the entire school hours if they are all alone.

CALM HER FEARS

Most school anxiety is caused by worries that adults might find silly, such as the fear that you’ll die or disappear while she’s at school. Point out that naturally people who love each other don’t like parting, but she’ll have fun, you’ll be absolutely fine, the school can always contact you, and your love is always with her even when you aren’t.  End every conversation with the reassurance “You know I ALWAYS come back” so she can repeat this mantra to herself if she worries.

If your child is not happy at school, chances are that he/she won’t be learning that good either. They will tend to lose interest in whatever is being taught in the class. InsyaAllah, if we follow the tips given, our children will get to enjoy school and learn a lot more, and go to school a lot happier!

And Allah Knows Best,

Source: http://www.parenting.com/article/how-to-help-your-kids-love-school?

-GA

Children Making Friends

Salam dear parents. Every now and then, we meet new people and make new friends. And for our children, this may be their first time making friends, especially for those who just began schooling. Studies say that parents play a big role in teaching their children on how to make friends. So, here are some tips in helping our little ones create new friendships with their schoolmates.

Teach kids to converse politely. One of the most important aspects in making friends is our communication with other people. People tend to like other people who can talk and listen properly and tentatively. These kinds of people tend to have a kind of “magnet” that attracts people to talk to them and become friends. This is nonetheless true for our children too. Therefore, we should teach our children to address people properly, and talk with nice words. For example, never call a person with a teasing name. Don’t comment on other people’s physical characteristics, unless complimenting. Also, talking with nice words means inserting words like ‘please’, ‘thank you’, ‘sorry’, and so on.

Teach your kids empathy. Empathy is very important in every kind of relationship, especially with children that are sensitive and are easily affected with the situations that are occurring around them. It may be hard to make children understand the concept of empathy, but here a few guides that can help you;

-Point out other people’s behavior. Teach your kindergartner to notice when someone else has behaved kindly. You might say, for example, “Remember how friendly your new teacher was on the first day of school? She helped you feel less scared.” By doing this, you reinforce her understanding of how people’s actions can affect her emotionally. Ask your child how she thinks the children in a fairy tale are feeling, and whether she thinks she’d be scared or brave in the same situation. Tell her how you might feel too.

-Ask them to think of others. Each day is full of opportunities to remind your child to think about how someone else might feel. It’s simple — say you’re in the grocery store and your child asks for some sweets. Say, “Sure. Now, do you think your little sister would like us to bring home a treat for her?”

-Teach nonverbal cues. At the playground or park, find a quiet place where you and your child can sit and observe others without being rude. Play a game of guessing what other people are feeling, and explain the specific reasons for your own guesses: “See that man? He’s walking really quickly and his shoulders are hunched, and he’s making a mean face. I think he’s angry about something.”

Empathy needs to be thought as it teaches children how to find good friends, and avoiding those bad ones. Other than that, it teaches our child to bring a higher confidence in themselves, by knowing that other people are nervous too in creating new friendships with people they haven’t met or talked to before.

Smile. Do teach your children to smile, to everyone, everyday. Smiling really lifts up the mood in the atmosphere, and makes the people around a lot more approachable. This means that it’ll be a lot easier to make friends, as the ice has already been broken, with just a simple gesture. A smile J Tell your children to smile when greeting their teachers, smile when talking to their friends, and smile even when they are doing the work their teachers gave them in class.

 Proper manners. Our children are still very young and small, and have a lot to learn, especially about manners. Do teach your children things like

-looking in the eye of a person when talking

-getting in line properly

-waiting for their turns

-Talk with a soft voice

-Knock before entering

-Not interrupting adults’ conversation, and so on.

Children who have proper manners are seen as a lot more friendly, and have a bigger tendency to have more friends wherever they go.

Dear parents, there are a lot of things we can do for our children to help them make friends. But, as much as we try, our efforts will prove fruitless as long as our own children don’t have any drive to do so themselves. So, make it as a habit to tell them that having friends is a very good thing and that everyone at least has a friend or two. Nevertheless, do monitor our children when they are making friends as nowadays, many children are influenced by bad habits from their friends, and also fall to peer pressure, even at a young age.

Insyaalah, our children will get the best of friends at school and will look forward even more to learn everyday!

And Allah Knows Best.

-GA

Handling First Time Pre-Schoolers

 

The day has come , we can’t believe that our little toddlers are in preschool now! The first days can be a bit of an emotional roller-coaster, both for parents and children, which might take a day, a week or even a month, really.   For children, it can be a big adjustment to get used to going to school for a half day, while parents often worry about how their children will cope.
But despite all that, school is a very much wondrous place. It’s where A LOT of things happen. And missing out on school means you’re missing out on a part of life. Though, it can’t be helped that some children really can’t leave the comfort of home. Especially when they are just starting school. They don’t like to wake up early, they don’t like to leave home, and being away from their parents. Fortunately, we parents have the power to turn all that around. With a sense of commitment, du’a, in shaa Allah,  crying children who are throwing tantrums can be jumping and bouncing around when school is mentioned.

But before that becomes a reality (which seems so impossible for those with children who would come to the extent of being literally DRAGGED to school), parents first need to know how to make school a better place for their lovely little kids. The first week of school can be tough, but here are a few tips for you and your bright and delightful children.

Get up early. A rushing and hectic morning draws everything back. Especially your child’s mood for school. So get yourself and your child out of the oh-so-comfortable bed earlier. This means you can have a relaxed breakfast, leave enough time to deal with upsets — and still get to school on time.

Prepare early. Make the getting-ready-for-school ritual as stress-free as possible. For example, lay out all his notebooks and clothes the night before. Having the child help with school preparations the night before can also reduce stress for everyone.

Focus on fun. If you escort your child to school, check out the playground before you go in. Meet the teacher together and take a look around the new classroom for things you know he enjoys, like art supplies, the canteen, or the reading corner.

If your child gets upset, acknowledge the feeling and ask her for suggestions. You might say, “I know you’re upset. I bet other kids are too. Let’s think about what will help you feel better.” Suggest reading a book together or starting an activity.

Ask the teacher for help. If your child won’t let you go, turn to the teacher. She probably has a lot of experience with this. You might say, “Let’s go say hello to your teacher together. She will take great care of you.”

Pack extra clothes. Some children wet their pants at school, which can embarrass them. Reassure them that it often happens and is nothing to worry about. Encourage them to tell the teacher. Pack spare clothing in the bottom of their bag.

During the first few weeks of school, your children are still learning to adapt to the new school life that they are entering. So, do remember;

-they may be tired at the end of the day. Don’t plan too many after-school activities; make sure they have time to rest and for free play

-they may want to tell you all about their day as soon as they see you. Be available to listen. Some children may want to relax first

-encourage them to talk about good things that happen at school

-make reading with them part of your daily routine. Bedtime stories are a great way to end the day.

In a nutshell, we have to remember that going to school, especially if it’s the first time, is not a mere routine for our children. Therefore, try not to put too many expectations on yourself or your child; if they are happy and enjoying school, that’s already a real achievement!

And Allah knows best.

-GA

 

Helping Our Children to Read Better

Salam dear busy Parents. There are various interesting  challenges of teaching our young children to read . These challenges are very rewarding as the reading milestones will make up who they are when they grow up. Here are some tips to help us understand the reading activities better :-

Introduce the alphabet. Children learn by modeling so we can start with sounds. They might not pronounce the letters properly but they get familiar with how it sounds like. Having a poster of the Alphabets helps our children establish syllabication through sound.

Introduce objects. Alphabet posters display each of the letters alongside an object. These objects always start with the same letter they represent. By introducing our children to what these objects are called, they begin to associate the letter sound to the object.

Use consistent language. There’s a relationship between language and reading. Children learn to pronounce things by modeling. If we use a single language to communicate with our children at home, they can use it to read materials in the same language.

Establish a reading routine. Setting aside time with our children to read each day definitely helps. The most common starting point is storybooks. By letting our children learn the habit of reading, we can help establish their interest in books.

Read in all placesRoad signs, book titles, car stickers, business names – we have all kinds of text around us as reading materials. It is common to hearparents who ask their children “can you read that for me, please?” It’s onetechnique to help children read better.

Listen as they read. When our children are capable enough to read sentences, we can listen in as they read short passages. This way, we’ll catch the areas where they struggle on. That’s where we come in to help them out.

Make it entertaining. We can purchase toys and other entertaining materials that foster our children’s reading ability. For example, we can purchase a set of blocks with printed letters on them and give our children certain words to spell.

Be encouraging. Creating a reading-friendly environment at home gives more benefits that we realize. If our children have older siblings, or if we live with other family members, let’s tell them about our plan to get our little one to read. This way, everyone in the household can contribute to our child’s improvement.

Dear parents, with all of the tips above, let us remember one thing as parents: we should never treat reading as an academic activity at home. This especially applies to children who are yet to go to school. What we can do instead is to make each reading exercise as enjoyable as it can be. Developing interest and letting our children know that reading is fun how we all ought to start … after all, its all about having fun isn’t it :)

We wish you all the best in your Parenting .. and Reading adventures !

And Allah Knows Best.

GA