Assalamu’alaikum and hello!
One night during our bedtime routine while I was saying the du’a (supplication) before sleeping with Little Duck, she repeated a couple of the words along with me. It dawned on me that she was ready and capable of memorizing. I asked her to repeat it word by word after me every night. A couple of nights later, she had the du’a memorized in its entirety (albeit – it is a short one), Masha’Allah. Her milestones always amaze me and are a reminder of the beauty of creation, Subhanallah.
Just as their is story time, their should be a special time for Qur’an daily for the entire family. Everyone can take out their copies and recite, memorize, or review during this time. It teaches your toddler and other children that Qur’an should be a daily part of our lives and it is important to take out the time for it. Even though our toddlers may not be able to read it yet, it will make them feel more involved.
Repeat, repeat, repeat.
Repeat the ayaat throughout the day and have the children repeat the du’as while you say them during the appropriate times. Repetition is key no matter what when you are memorizing anything. As all learning experts say, the toddler’s brain is like a sponge.
My uncle’s son was one of the best examples for me personally. When he was a little under two, he was running around the house reciting something that was not clear at first. But the more I heard it, the more I made sense of it. He was reciting Suratul Fatiha from beginning to end, Masha’Allah! It was not perfect in any way as he had not mastered all of his sounds just yet, but my husband and I were impressed. I asked his mother what she was doing with him and it was the simplest thing. She just had a recording of Suratul Fatiha playing in the background on repeat throughout the day. From that alone, he had memorized all of it.
Make it interesting.
Find ways to reach your toddler and make the recitation of Qur’an and du’a enjoyable for them. During my time as an Islamic School teacher, I passed by the kindergarten classroom and heard the kids excitedly reciting Qur’an. Usually and unfortunately whenever I sat in on other Qur’an classes, the kids would be bored and completely disconnected. In this particular class, the Qur’an teacher was animated and using her hands to portray the meanings of the ayaat which captivated the children. While sitting there, in no way did I feel she was making a mockery of the Qur’an or making it seem light-hearted. She found a way to get the little ones to understand and connect with what they were reciting, in the same way many nursery songs and rhymes do.
Print it out.
An important tip I got from a hafidh (someone who memorized the Qur’an) was that you should have a copy of the Qur’an to hold and use your finger to follow along with while you memorize. In teaching, you are also taught to implement a lesson in a variety of ways in order to activate more parts of the brain and reach different learning styles. Some children are more visual while others need something tangible.
For toddlers, I would print out the short Surah they are memorizing or the du’a in large print, laminate it, and use it during Qur’an time. For the daily du’a, there are plenty of child-friendly printables with pictures available online that you can find by doing a simple google search or you can make your own (like I did). (I love these that I found on etsy that can be downloaded and framed). I would hang these up or make them accessible during the appropriate times (example: keeping the print-out of the du’a before sleeping next to the child’s bed).
May Allah (swt) place a love of the Qur’an and His remembrance in the hearts of our children and ourselves. If you have any other tips, please do leave them in the comments below.