(How to raise a successful and happy child / How do I raise a positive child? / How do I raise a confident child ? )
Parents have their own designed ways of raising children. With every child being different in terms of characteristics and their reaction to the environment they live in, raising healthy minded, confident children becomes a task for parents. One needs to understand all requirements of the child and couple it with an expert advice to generate the best result.
While all matters are learnable and the right ways of getting tasks accomplished can be implemented as and when discovered, a going-to-be parent needs to understand that their life is going to change. A huge portion of their time and effort will be prebooked for the child. So, with changing situation one needs to be ready to adopt to the changes which are on its way.
- Altering routine and habits
Children are very delicate, and the first few years of their lives have a huge impact on the way they think and react to their environment. The best way to get them to be active and energetic is to make sure they have a good routine. This might require you to have a strict routine too. A mother, I know shared how she had to give up her designing class because her toddler refused to sleep before three in the morning and this completely disturbed her routine. Unfortunately, she failed to realize that her baby had developed the same sleeping pattern that the entire household was practicing. The child was allowed to sleep at her own desired time, and this led to her staying awake at night. Children if guided to sleep appropriately (at the right times during the day) develop the exact same sleep pattern that the adults in the house practice.
- A strong vision for your child
As the child begins to grow, a parent needs to develop a strong vision for the child. Though it shouldn’t be a strict one but a rough one to make sure that the child is being mentored in the right direction. For example, if you want your child to become an entrepreneur start calling them by that name. Generally, from the age of 2 or 3 children begin to understand jobs and career. Show them what the people in that profession do and help them develop similar skills. Be sure not to overshadow your child if they choose a different profession then the one you have envisioned for them. The task is to guide them to think and understand their role in a society and not to confuse them. Keep in mind that each child develops their own potential, and they start exhibiting it from a very young age. Our goal is to nurture their talent and abilities by encouraging and aiding them with adequate tools. A parent needs to constantly read and learn about the age that their children are in. They need to understand how and why children behave the way they do when they are a certain age. This helps to better deal with them.
Another point to keep in mind is that a person is a combination of his / her personal as well as professional traits. So, it is important to call your children with the best names. Those extraordinary people mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah are the best choices to name a child. For example, if you want your daughter to be as righteous, pious, and god-fearing as Maryam (AS) then call her by that name. Make supplication that she generates those amazing traits that Maryam (AS) portrayed. These traits made her an exceptional woman, and she was among those closest to Allah (swt).
And remember when Luqman (peace and blessings be upon him) said to his son, while advising him, “O my dear son! Never associate anything with Allah in worship….Even if a deed were the weight of a mustard seed—be it hidden in a rock or in the heavens or the earth—Allah will bring it forth. Surely Allah is Most Subtle, All-Aware. Establish prayer, encourage what is good and forbid what is evil, and endure patiently whatever befalls you. Surely this is a resolve to aspire to. And do not turn your nose up to people, nor walk pridefully upon the earth. Surely Allah does not like whoever is arrogant, boastful and Be moderate in your pace.” (Surah Luqman, Verse 13 – 19)
- Saving them from the evils of screen time
One of the biggest challenges parents face in today’s time is over exposure to screen time. Due to reduction of outdoor activity lifestyle and heavy dependence on gadgets, children tend to get hooked to these devises sooner than they should. Unfortunately, parents who do not have the leisure of spending time with their children, generally due to home / work responsibilities, use these gadgets to keep their children busy. It is also witnessed that caretakers (babysitters) find it easy to simply switch on these gadgets for children which saves them the need to go extra mile. It is necessary that such behaviour is addressed. These gadgets are damaging and arise several health problems in children. Some ill-effects being chronic neck and back pain, depression, anxiety, obesity, sleep problems, red or hurting eyes, impaired socialising skills, weakened emotional judgment, and delayed learning in young children.
Children should be discouraged from spending more than one hour every day on screen time. This might seem a difficult task for some parents. However, with proper focus and planning one can save them from this harmful activity. The best alternative is home based activity. If outdoor games are not an everyday possibility, home based activities should be encouraged. Sure it gets the house a little dirty but a messy house is better than an unhealthy child.
- Introducing the concept of Islam
This aspect is as important as the ones discussed above. Trying to inculcate the idea of Islam and the concept of devotion to worship in later stages of life is difficult. Many parents complain that their teenage children doubt the concept of religion. Though, doubt does lead many people towards Islam and helps them better understand the need for this criterion of right and wrong in their life. We are only aiding our children by teaching them the concept of right and wrong early on in their life. It helps them take sensible decisions, stay focused on the reality of life, builds confidence that Allah (swt) should be the dependable factor. For those children, who do not receive this understanding early in life, they struggle a lot till they reach this understanding.
Parents must go the extra mile and teach their children to pray 5 times a day and fast during the month of ‘Ramadan’. By getting them in a habit to practice basic form of worship, parents are merely making life easy for their children. Often parents think that by amassing wealth and giving their children an easy life, they are aiding them. However, if a person has wealth but no wisdom (which comes from Allah swt) they cannot have a successful life. Either the person wastes it or ends up using it in places which are forbidden. This amassed wealth becomes a means of destruction for them, rather than becoming a means of peace and happiness. To save children from self-destruction one needs to teach them that no matter what you have, Allah (swt) is always in charge. And depending on Him is the only way forward.
Aisha (Peace and blessings be upon her) said, “I have not seen anyone who resembled the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in terms of words, speech and manners, more than Fatimah. When he saw her coming, he would greet her and then he would stand up for her, kiss her, take her hand and brought her to sit in his place. When the he visited her, she would greet him, stand up for him, and kiss him.” (Al-Bukhari)
- Fresh and home-cooked meals
Ensuring the well-being of children, home-made meals are the best way of getting them energized for the day. Recently, I attended a workshop where the doctor stated that many diseases like obesity, thyroid, diabetes, etc., have taken a common ground in children due to consumption of meals delivered from restaurants.
Preparing light meals at home is easier than ever these days. It only requires a well-planned chart and is totally achievable. A simple home-based snack is better for the health of the child as compared to a rich calorie diet ordered from outside. It might take some time for mothers to get used to a new meal-time routine, but the effort is worth the effort.
Getting involved with your children is necessary. Those parents who develop a healthy relation with their children have stronger family ties when children grow up. Along with mothers it is required that fathers also understand their role in mentoring children. Our beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was more active at home than he was outside. Hence, it is important that fathers also manage their time around their children. If fathers keep an attitude that once they are back from work, they deserve to relax and do not need to participate in the nurturing of their children, then these children will only grow distant from them. Fathers must actively participate in the growth of their children. They should play with them, get them energized by taking them for a stroll and make themself available when their children need it. With both parents willingly taking efforts to give their children the best life, a child will thrive to become the best version of themself.