Teaching Salah to kids as a teacher can be hard, as it’s mostly memorisation based. But you can teach Salah in a way that makes it less stressful and more enjoyable. Bonus of teaching kids Salah, is the incredible amount of Sadaqah Jaariya you will continue to receive long after you’re gone. Read on below to find out all about how to make learning and reading Salah easy for kids. Check out our tips on teaching kids Salah below!
Importance of salah
First, explain to children the significance of Salah and why Muslims need to pray. This is the most important part as children often ask why. They might not say it out of respect, fear of judgement or any other number of reasons but trust me, most kids when asked to do something, always ask (or think) why.
So why do Muslims pray?
Muslims were created with one primary purpose as outlined in the Quran: ‘And I (Allah) created not the jinns and humans except they should worship Me’ (Surah 51, Ayah 56).
Aside from this main reason there are countless benefits to praying Salah.
Benefits of Salah for kids
- Salah is the key to paradise
- It wipes away sins committed between prayers
- It’s a direct connection between Allah and his people
- It brings you closer to Allah
- It helps increase Taqwa
- Regular Salah prayed on time pleases Allah
- It helps your mind and body
- Salah protects against evil
Go over these benefits with your class or kids. Also mention that there are other benefits to Salah and once they start praying they will begin to see these Insha’Allah.
An introductory lesson on Salah should entail the why. Once kids have their heads around that aspect they can then move on to the how and when.
Why should children pray?
As teachers and parents, it is so important to instil the love and habit of prayer. Salah is one of the 5 pillars of Islam and without it, our deen is incomplete. There’s no other way around that simple fact. The fact that millions of Muslims go about their daily life without sparing a thought for their creator is probably one of the reasons why the world is in the state that it is in.
Habits are instilled from childhood and bad habits are hard to break or change. When teaching kids Salah, you are essentially making their adolescence and adulthood easier by giving them a tool that they can use again and again to overcome difficulties in life. And they will face many difficulties as ultimately our life in this world is a test, and tests are hard!
Rather than getting them to just memorise it for the sake of ticking it off their report or completing a checklist, giving it the importance it deserves is crucial.
What age should children start praying?
“Teach your children to pray when they are seven years old, and smack them (lightly) if they do not pray when they are 10 years old, and separate them in their beds.”
Abu Dawod (459) and Ahmad (6650)
As clearly stated in this hadith, children should start to practise their Salah at the age of 7. Ideally they should learn it before the age of 7 so that they can start practising as soon as they become 7. In fact the earlier the better. With my students, I will begin teaching some when they are 6. I judge their recall ability and decide what age they should start memorising their prayer. Some children memorise at a slower pace than others, and giving them the space and time to go at their pace is good practice.
Also whilst the Hadith says to smack children lightly, as teachers, we should never take the role of a parent and hit children. We want the learning environment to always be a positive and nurturing. Plus it’s illegal in many countries!
Tips on how to teach kids Salah
I’ve included a list of tips below that will Insha’Allah help you on your teaching journey when it comes to Salah:
- Be a positive role model by praying with them. Seeing you pray with them will make them a bit more eager to pray with you as kids love copying adults around them (both consciously and unconsciously)
- Use lots of positive encouragement and praise after they have prayed. Single out a Salah Star Student who gets a sticker for being focussed in Salah and getting all their actions right
- Choose a kid (this could be the Salah Star Student) and get them to mentor and help those who are behind the others or new starters and beginners.
- Do a 2 minute weekly reminder about the importance and benefits of Salah. To make it more interactive, ask the kids to prepare a story, tip, hadith or benefit of Salah and share it with the rest of the class.
- Emphasise how they are all going to be talking to Allah directly. Talk about how he can hear them all separately and how he helps those who pray Salah regularly. This will require creating and nurturing a love of Allah. Once they feel that love, they will be eager to pray and encourage others to pray.
- Every day before praying together as a class, say ‘Allah is waiting for us’ or ‘it’s time for our special appointment with Allah.’
- Encourage them to just practise one salah everyday to start with. Slowly introduce a new prayer after every couple of months. Allah loves consistency even if the deed may be small after all.
- Have a little circle time session after praying and ask them one question. For example: How do you feel after praying? What do you think about when praying? What did you do better today? How can you do better tomorrow? What helps you focus in Salah? What should you be thinking about when praying? How do you think Allah feels when you talk to him in Salah? What do you imagine when you pray? Which prayer did you just read? (this is for the sleepy ones 🙂 What prayer comes next? What prayer came before this?
- Get the kids to take it in turns to be the Imam- I’ve done this over the years and some hesitated to lead and others rose to the challenge and exceeded my expectations. Most kids love being in charge and this is a good way to boost their confidence and help them become proud of their Muslim identity.
- If your Maktab or Islamic school has the budget, gift a prayer mat to each child and ask them to bring it with them to pray when in class. If you don’t have the budget, ask them to bring their own from home. This sense of ownership will hopefully give them a sense of pride in their Salah.
Check out our Salah resources that you can use to help you when teaching kids about Salah. I will be updating this soon. I will also be posting a Salah blog about the various resources available to teachers and parents next week Insha’Allah.