Growing kids

Bismillah,

We have been so busy, as usual, alhamdulillah. I might have told before that we live socially very demanding life- alhamdulillah. I always try to keep in close relationship with other muslim families we got to know over the past years, especially some of them have children around the same age as ours. I don’t want kids to miss out on “socializing” aspect, plus it gives them a chance to practise their English (as we only speak Uzbek at home). Sisters along with babies and toddlers and older siblings in and out of our house, we can feel the sense of belonging, the sense of community alhamdulillah. It is such a blessing to be surrounded in such company and our children always remind each other of Allah swt as. We really enjoy listening to their conversations whenever we get a chance. May Allah continue this friendship and protect and preserve our children for us and us for them.

I started teaching another 7 year old girl, alhamdulillah. So, there are usually 4-5 of them in our classroom (my two girls, 6 year old twins-a boy and a girl and 7 year old girl). Safiyya doesnt always stay with us, as she finds some of the activities too challenging. Whenever she distracts the class I send her out. Otherwise, she is always at the background and I try to provide some fidgety things- beads, sticks, pipe cleaners to keep her busy.

We always start with dhikr and make dua that Allah gives us all beneficial knowledge. They read 2-3 surahs each and a page from Ahsanul Qawaid daily. At the moment they are doing copywork from Ahsanul Qawaid, they copy 8-10 high frequency words from the Qur’an. Alhamdulillah, they are improving. We usually pray dhohr together.

Literacy. I use a lot of Islamic literature for our literacy activities. At story time we always choose one non Islamic and one Islamic story book to read. I read some pages and let kids read a page each in turn. I let Safiyya read some short words that she knows how to read. MashaAllah, she can read most 3 letter words. And she is more interested in books than ever before. Following the story time, I ask them do some copywork for their English handwriting. They usually copy the dua of a particular prophet from the story we read or ayah from the Qur’an or a hadith where the story is derived from. Alhamdulillah, I think copywriting the powerful messages sent through the Qur’an and Hadith will help them to understand the moral of the story better.

When we read the story of Hud a.s they copied the message Hud a.s delivered to His people.

And I also do a spelling check using the words from the story. Usually I choose between 6-8 words from the story and ask children to write those words without looking at the book. I will just say them outloud and they have to write the words down and number them. I check at the end if they have correct spelling. Then they have to copy the words in which they have made a spelling mistake.

This is the spelling test I did based on the book called The Way to Jannah by Learning Roots.

We also read the story of Ayyub a.s and kids copied his dua.

Sometimes when we read a story I ask them to summarise the story in 5-6 sentences, basically narration but very short narration. When I ask them to narrate they keep going on and on lol. Alhamdulillah, they have got really good memory so they keep telling me every detail. And we have a short dictation based on the story. I read out the sentences and they have to write down without looking at each other. MashaAllah, Sumayya’s spelling is the best in the group though she needs to improve her handwriting. So, this is an example of our dictation based on one of the stories we read about a little girl called Jane.

These are examples of Sumayya’s Arabic handwriting.

These are the kinds of activities we do regarding numeracy. Alhamdulillah, as they grow older it is becoming easier for me as they do lots of self-studying. I am enjoying teaching more and more.

Numeracy/Maths.

We have been continuing with MEP Year 1 with math. Alhamdulillah, I like this programme so much, math concepts introduced like a building blocks and slow pace. It is moving towards logical thinking and mental math now. Other children in the group use their fingers or math manipulatives and Sumayya said today “Before I used my fingers now I use just my own brain” lol. Alhamdulillah, she is excelling in math.

For example, I ask them to write an addition sum for the number 5, using any of the numbers 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. And she wrote all the options such as 0+5=5; 1+4=5; 2+3=5; 3+2=5; 4+1=5 and finally 5+0=5. We do lots of equation based problem-solving such as you have 4 how many more shall I give you to make it 7. Or, I say Marjaan has 2 more than 3 apples but Sumayya has 3 less than 8. So, who has more? And she quickly said we have the same amount, calculating things in her head. Other kids do simple additions and subtractions really well but struggle a little bit when it comes to equation or problem solving. Anyway, I am really happy with MEP books and programme and inshaAllah continue using it.

Here are some sample pages of the MEP workbooks.

Safiyya was initially doing MEP Year 1 but she finds it really difficult now and so I have just been reviewing numbers 0-20, counting 0-20, Arabic numbers 0-10, colours and shapes in English/Uzbek/Arabic in addition to very basic addition. She is not yet ready to do subtractions and generally we use lots of math manipulatives with her. I have got the below poster from rahmah homeschool and thought it would be nice to have it on her bedroom wall and go over it every day before bed time inshaAllah.

We are also continuing with K12 reader programme to improve her handwriting and reading. Alhamdulillah, she finds these worksheets easy and enjoys them.

Geography

We do map drilling and use the globe every time we read a story. When we read the story of Musa a.s I ask them to show me Egypt from the map, and draw pretend line where he has travelled, find river Nile where his mother put him as a baby in the basket. When we read the story of Hud a.s they found out he was from Yemen and found Yemen on the globe. Prophet Ayyub a.s was from Syria and they found Syria. And I ask simple questions such as “Is Arabia on the east or west of Red Sea?” “Is Makkah on the north or south of Yemen?” And alhamdulillah they can answer well looking at the globe. They noted that lots of prophets was from Egypt, Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Syria  and surrounding area and asked me which prophet came from England. I didnt know any prophet from England so I said I dont know but Allah knows. Alhamdulillah, very curious children lol.

This is our Good Deeds Tree that hangs on our classroom wall. Whoever collects the most number of flowers every 4 weeks will get a prize inshaAllah.

And we mostly cook together with my girls. It gives me a chance to practise some of their vocab in Arabic. I keep asking for names of vegetables and fruits and some kitchen tools in Arabic and Sumayya answers while Safiyya mostly copies what she says. But, inshaAllah, she must be internalizing and learning.

Anyway, we have made a new dish yesterday called Maqlooba from an Arab cuisine. We tried it 1st time at our friend’s house in London 2 weeks ago. We all liked it. Me, Safiyya and Sumayya found the recipe on youtube and watched it a couple of times. And we made it together. They were very curious about this new dish. Alhamdulillah it was so yummy, the whole family enjoyed it, including little Ibrahim.

Finally we bought Ibrahim his 1st pair of shoes today. It was such a mission lol because his feet are so chubby. We got them measured in Clarks and his size was no less than 5 I. His sisters had size 5 H as 1st shoes so his feet must be even chubbier. Anyway, the guy said they wont do any shoes in size 5 I, 5 H was the biggest width they could provide and alhamdulillah we found a pair that fit his chubby feet. He is so much into books, just like his sisters, mashaAllah. He walks really fast now. He loves spending time outside, always asking us to take him out by holding one of us by hand and walking toward the door lol. He mimics and imitates most nursery rhymes, his favourite is Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Wind the Bobbin Up. He loves when we sing it together and does the actions so well. We all call him sheikh lol. Potty training is going well, hope he will be fully out of nappy by 18 months inshaAllah.

Ibrahim loves playing with his sisters. They play run and catch, hide and seek and a ball. It has been a good couple of weeks since he started playing football. He doesnt play other babiesh ball games, but kicks the ball and runs after it. He is just so hilarious as he is so short and chubby running after football half of his size. He only turned 1 on Sunday but already plays football, mashaAllah. May Allah protect and preserve all our children and make them among the pious Muslims amin.

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Character building with the Qur’an

Bismillah,

I cant believe how fast the days are flying by and it is only 16 or so days left till Ramadan. SubhanAllah…

I would like to update on the hifdh of Qur’an inshaAllah.

We try to listen to the Qur’an a couple of times a day. We do the revision session as usual once a day when I ask the girls both read me 5 random surahs I choose off their memory. Safiyya is memorizing surah Zalzala at the moment and Sumayya is just reviewing Juzz Amma. She can read a lot of the surahs in the next Juzz but has not yet started memorizing. She keeps reading surah Mursalat after our Qur’an revision session. She listens to a new surah a few times and she can read it from mus”haf on her own mashaAllah.

A lot of the moms complain to me how hard it is to sit their children and make them listen and repeat when it comes to memorizing the Quran.

Q: How can I motivate my child to memorize the Qur’an?

This was my answer:

1. We- the moms have to make the effort to memorize new surah alongside with our children. They should see us listening to the surah we want to memorize, repeat after the sheikh, read that surah at least a couple of times a day outloud. When we set that example, they will be motivated to copy us inshaAllah.

2. We should make the effort to make the Qur’an a living/applicable thing in our lives. We try to talk about Qur’an as much as possible in our household. When we ask children to do something or to become something we should always try to reference it from the Qur’an. For example, when we ask them to be kind, we can remind that Allah has asked the believer to be kind in the Qur’an (you can search and find specific ayah for older children). When we see older siblings making little ones upset we often ask them to say sorry. Again, we should always remind that when we hurt someone we should first ask forgiveness of that person then we should seek forgiveness of Allah swt. When we ask them to be gentle, sharing, humble and not to show off- all these things can be referenced from the Qur’an. We should make our children understand from young age that it is not we who want them to behave in certain way but it is Allah the Almighty, who created all of us from nothing and gave us everything we need- He wants us to become and behave that way and He told us so in the Qur’an. These character building statements with Qur’anic backing can be explained on the go all day long. We don’t need to sit children down to explain these. Make use of time during school run or whilst cooking and trigger some conversation about what Allah azza wa jal told us in the Qur’an. When kids don’t listen to me I always say “Allah said in the Qur’an “Worship me and obey your parents”. So, if you want Allah to be happy with you you can do as I said “.

3. One of the things my girls ask every time we make dua is going to the highest level of Jannah, inshaAllah. Whenever they feel reluctant to do the Qur’an hifdh- I ask them “So, how are you going to go to the highest level of Jannah without learning much of the Qur’an. Remember, Allah loves those who learn and live the Qur’an. So, Allah is watching you now to see if you can do it or not”. MashaAllah this works perfectly well with Sumayya as she is getting older she has more understanding of things relating to HereAfter.

4. Treats- we have no TV but we use watching some educational cartoons on youtube as a treat for learning/memorizing the Qur’an. For those who have/watch TV- it should be limited and used as a treat only. We can use Qur’an charts- where a child collects a star for each new surah learnt and parents can buy something for every 10 stars. The prize can be a real simple toy or some educational resource, a book etc. Something useful. We can also give them sweets and candies for new surah learnt. We have always restricted sweet things in our family diet (and really I dont have a sweet tooth. I can not each store bought chocolates, candies, choc-chip biscuits etc) So, what our girls receive is usually something very little- it could be 1/4 of a twix bar and they are over the moon lol. But I say to them, chocolates/sweets are unhealthy in this world only. But, in Jannah, everything is healthy. They can have as many lolly pops and chocolates as they wish for and it never affects their teeth or tummy. I say “Even if you dont feel like eating a meal and have 10 lollies a day, still your teeth don’t go black. Because everything is pure in Jannah and nothing makes you poorly there”. They love it when I talk like this about Jannah, alhamdulillah. Also, we can organize Qur’an parties when they memorize a certain juzz or a number of surahs. We also organize trips for our girls for memorizing the Qur’an and alhamdulillah they look forward to trips and try to memorize quickly.

5. Keep listening to Qur’an as many times during the day as possible. Whilst travelling in the car, whilst cooking a meal, whilst having breakfast etc. Most people have smart phones these days and some really cool apps. So, we can utilize the technology we have at hand and make use of every spare minute we have inshaAllah. If we get our children’s ear used to the sounds of the Qur’an recitation, they should not feel as reluctant when it comes to memorizing. It is completely foreign language to children, they don’t read, write, speak or even hear the Arabic language. So, we can imagine how hard it must be for them to memorize something in a language that their ears never heard of. I think it helps to train their ears by listening to the recitation of Qur’an from as young as newborn babies (or even in pregnancy).

6. We have “It is Qur’an time with mommy” every day. We all should make it a habit inshaAllah.  Time is crucial factor both for  parents and children. We parents should be able to choose a time that works for both inshaAllah and revise all the surahs they have memorized so far. We can make them read or listen/repeat the surah they are on at least 3 times (depending which method is being used. Older children memorize by reading a surah many times but younger ones memorize by listening and repeating. Personally, I prefer listen/repeat method as it is traditional and you are more likely to get the sounds right). Anyway, when we establish “Qur’an time with mommy” as a habit, then we don’t need to drag them/ nag them or spend long time trying to make them sit and do the hifdh. Establishing a habit in itself is an automatic motivation inshaAllah.

7. Aqeedah- we should keep working on their understanding of Aqeedah. We should establish the firm knowledge of Allah, the oneness of Allah and meanings of names of Allah swt. We should teach all the basic knowledge relating to HereAfter from a very young age and as they grow older learn in more details. Few things we have to develop strong awareness in children are: tawheed (all 3 aspects of tawheed) the pillars of imaan (belief in Allah, angels, prophets, books, the day of Judgement and Qadar). In general terms, this is what we always say to our children at home “We all have a book called Illiyun. We all have angels on our sides called Kiraman Katibeen. These angels write down our good deeds and bad deeds. Allah swt will count on the day of Judgement all our deeds to see which one is more. If we have lots of good deeds than Allah will reward us with Jannah inshaAllah”. As well as treating our children with trips, sweets or Qur’an parties from time to time, we should keep reminding them that the greatest reward is with Allah swt and in Jannah.

I was memorizing surah Qiyamah some time ago. As I memorized I was listening to the tafseer of the surah as well. I said to Sumayya “You know on the day of Judgement Allah will destroy everything. All the strong mountains will be flying in the sky. All the trees will be uprooted and strong tall building will crumble. Do you think it will be dark or clear on that day. That’s right, everywhere will be dark. But, the prophet saw said those who memorize and learn the Qur’an will have light on their face. So, if you learn and live the Qur’an, you can see where you are going. Everywhere will be dark but inshaAllah you can find your way” She was really impressed by this fact and also learning about the description of the day of Judgement. So, I thought developing their knowledge of the HereAfter would help them to feel motivated to learn the Qur’an.

8. Finally, we should all be making dua constantly that Allah swt makes this journey easy both for ourselves and our children. Allah is All Knowing, All Watching, All Seeing, The Controller of the Hearts and He can make anything possible. We are only asked to do what we can do inshaAllah.

Reading journey

Bismillah,

A love of books and reading is one of the most precious important gifts anyone can give a child. Reading encourages imagination, builds understanding, opens up new worlds and helps children reach their full potential.

Reading with children from birth is the best way to teach them the joy of reading. It is also a special way to build relationships, encourages conversations and have fun together. Our children will reap the benefits of reading for the rest of their lives as Islam encourages us to seek knowledge from cradle to the grave.

As with many moms we read lots of books at home. I try to utilize every single minute in our busy household so whenever I get 5-10 minutes I quickly grab some books and call children to my side. They love reading and discussing the stories together. Even little Ibrahim has some of his very own favourite books that he brings us again and again to be read to him.

Ibrahim has lots of board books to look at pictures. He points to pictures and tries to talk, mostly by bubbling away. His favourite is his panda book. He also likes turning pages using his index finger in other books. He started singing “alif-baa-taa” song for us and joins us when we do “a a apple” song. If I say a a and pause he says “Allah”, if I say b b and pause he says “ball”. He always walks with a couple of books in his tiny hands- so cute mashaAllah.

Safiyya is now more and more interested in books. I read short story books to her sitting her in my lap. I hold her index finger and follow the print with her finger as I read along. Whenever there is a word that I know she can read I pause and she reads. And we continue reading in this manner till the end of story- reading together. I read long words and she reads short sight/dolch words. She can read most sight words such as “I, we, he, she, this, that, they, on, of, a, the” and we have also done some word groups with her cat-sat-mat, map-cap-tap, hit-bit-it etc. As I said in my previous post, I am using this programme to work on her handwriting and reading and Alhamdulillah she does fine copywork and she can read most words. I also use Jolly Phonics flashcards with her from time to time and Rhyme Game from Enchanted Learning. Also, she likes learning on the go; I point to words and signs as we cook/bake/play in the garden/opening some packaging/travelling in the car- and Alhamdulillah she has mastered the phonics/sounds really well. Although the foundation is there she can not yet join the sounds and read fluently. Therefore, focusing on sight words and word groups is really helping her to improve her reading with the above programme. But she is so good at talking about stories and mostly pretends to be reading a story we have read together by turning the pages and narrating it to herself in English.

Sumayya reading lots of chapter books. She reads average size chapter book containing 40-60 pages in one day. Longer chapter books with pages between 60-100 may take up to 3 days and even longer ones take about a week to finish. She loves finishing books in one go, she is so immersed in the story that she doesn’t want to do anything else unless she finishes the whole book. I realize it even more how we parents should be careful to choose books for our youngsters. You never know which part of the book the child will be internalizing and of course we always have a follow up discussion and point out all the good deeds the characters did in the books and discuss why they should not have done some of the things they did etc. Even then, it is always best to stick to books that help our children build a good character inshaAllah.

I sent the kids to the library with their dad last Thursday. Alhamdulillah we started going every Thursday as the need for new books are increasing with both the girls. Anyway, last Thursday they came back with about 20 books half of which I would not let the kids choose in the first place. One story was about how elephant lost his ears and there were some Gods and Goddesses in the story. Another was about a wicked witch, then another was about some naughty pirates. I had a discussion with my husband later about a) Is it better to let a child read such books and explain the wrong content with discussion afterwards or b) Is it better to not expose their young mind to shirk and magic at this stage? We have concluded that it was obviously better to not choose such books in the 1st place. Why would I want them to read such books? There are so many other ways of explaining what is wrong and what is right in Islam and so it is always best to feed their mind with good books and good reading that help them build a kind, caring, sharing, helpful, etc character traits. So, inshaAllah we stick to books that contains Islamically correct and morally good stories so the children get influenced in a positive way.

Here are some of the books we have read recently and alhamdulillah it has been of so much benefit so check them out from your local library. The first 6 books are all chapter books Sumayya read last week. Good books for young readers and we got them all from a local library.

1. You can do it Stanley by Irena Green- Sumayya read and enjoyed this

2. Ellie and Granny Mac by Elizabeth Maclennan- Great to encourage conversations about extended families and of course building relationship with grandmas. Sumayya read and really liked the book.

3. The parent swap shop by Francesca Simon- Oh this book was my favourite. It taught us so much how we should be grateful for what we have and always appreciate our parents and what they do for us. Highly recommended for personal purchase but also check out your local libraries as we got it from the library.

4. The Spider School by Francesca Simon- another chapter book Sumayya read last week. She did not like this book much and I think the whole concept was a bit hard to grasp for her 5 year old mind (all the way to the end the story was happening in little girl’s dream. And it didnt say at the end that the whole thing happened was her dream lol)

5. The Giant Postman by Sally Grindley- S read and enjoyed

6. Kit’s Castle by Chris Powling- good read

7. Mr Bear’s Holiday by Debi Gliori (the whole Mr. Bear series by the same author are so good. I liked both the vocab, language and the illustrations. so engaging mashaAllah). I bought these books in car boot sales but I think libraries have them too.

8. Aesop’s Fables by Aesop (I can’t stress enough how good these stories are, mashaAllah so much to do with character building. And most local libraries have a single story from the collection made into a book. We got ours from the library too, alhamdulillah)

9. Poppy’s Teddy by Louise John. We read this with Safiyya and she was happy as she could read most words inside. The whole Start Reading collection by the same authors are great, perfect for 3-4 year olds who just started reading.

10. Our all time favourite book is Cindrella- an Islamic Tale. We read this book again and again. Of course we want our girls to be like Zahra in this story and always mention her when correcting their misbehaviour or encourage a positive behaviour etc. MashaAllah, the author has done a brilliant job.

Gardening and Baking and much more

Bismillah,

Alhamdulillah finally we have been able to get some gardening done over the weekend.

I was ill for a couple of days last week so we all had 2-3 fun unschooling days where kids spent lots of time playing outside; doing literacy activities on starfalls and reading eggs; reading books and watching educational cartoons. I had much needed rest and finished the book I was reading “The Brothers Karamazov” by F. Dostoyevsky. I could spend the whole post writing a review on that book lol, but I wont. All I say is this, the author always amazes me with his characters, description of events and leaves me in awe and inspiration. A lot to reflect…

Usually I teach some other children on Saturdays. But I was teaching during the week due to school holidays last week and we have been rehearsing the children’s show to be played on Sumayya and Safiyya’s Qur’an party this Saturday inshaAllah. Kids will be performing some nasheeds about salah, telling us what they learnt about Qur’an and finally perform the story of Nuh a.s. They are all so excited about the event. Last week we made the poster of the story of Nuh a.s. Children all have lines to memorize and they chose to be either one of the Muslims who supported Nuh a.s or an animal. Sumayya is going to be a bunny rabbit and Safiyya is going to be a butterfly. We got their costumes yesterday, alhamdulillah. This week we will be making Qur’an posters to tell some fun facts about the Qur’an. I will share the pictures next week inshaAllah. I am teaching a group of 8 kids tomorrow and on Friday and inshaAllah their performance is around 2pm on Saturday. We are expecting some 60 people including both women and children. I am so thrilled, may Allah bless it inshaAllah.

We had our next Islamic Parenting circle last Saturday and it was about how to help a child memorize the Qur’an. Alhamdulillah it was useful to share tips and advice with other moms. I went to Being Me sisters conference in Manchester on Sunday. Alhamdulillah I got to see and listen to sisters Zohra Sarwari and Kafaya Abdussalam live. There were some other speakers whom I havent heard of before as well. MashaAllah sheikh Alaa Elsayed was really good. I had a good day to fill up my spiritual tank and came home calm and relaxed about wordly matters. Alhamdulillah.

And finally, my big news is we spent the whole Monday gardening. We cut the grass, cut some tress, pruning, planting some seeds and flowers etc. Alhamdulillah the girls took so much interest in gardening, they are always asking me which plants are weeds to be uprooted and which plants are planted so to be left etc. We had weeds growing all over the garden so had so much to do. We planted some gladiolus bulbs 2-3 weeks ago and mashaAllah they are coming out so nicely. And we also dug and made a patch to grow herbs. Today we planted basil, chives, coriander and parsley. I got girls both a watering can each and they are always busy watering our flowers and trees. I just can not wait till our herbs grow and we reap the harvest lol. Honestly so excited. I was planning to get some sunflower seeds, sweetcorn ad tomatoes too but the seeds were so expensive where I bought them. I need to find some cheap place to buy vegetable seeds. Sumayya cut the apples and took the apple seeds out and planted them as well. I am not actually sure if they will grow or not but she was so kin.

We baked apple pie and biscuits today and mashaAllah they always have a part to do. I believe they will learn just as much from observing too but I always give them their own tasks.

Ibrahim is walking and talking a lot more now. He loves outside in the garden and always pulling our hands towards the door or pointing that direction where we go out, subhanAllah. He listens to Qur’an with his sisters, reads books, plays with his toys, goes on the  swing, watches his own nursery rhymes on youtube etc. He often has a runny nose and one of the newest things he learnt is how to blow his own nose. If we give him a clean tissue paper and ask him to clean his nose, he actually puts it on his nose, blows his nose and wipes it away. I don’t know why but we all find it so so amusing. He is there, barely walking, cant talk but blowing his nose on a tissue paper just like adults. Usually small children hate when adults wipe their nose but he seems to love it and he often poses for his nose to be cleaned by one of us. He is also saying few more words in Uzbek.

We do Qur’an hifdh daily with both the girls. Then review Arabic vocab, read books etc. They get to watch something on youtube immediately after this- usually in the mornings. In the afternoons we do some literacy/numeracy activities. Usually I ask Sumayya to read a book then I choose 5-6 words from the book and just say them outloud one after the other. Sumayya has to write them- this is something we do for her spelling. MashaAllah I do nothing official or constructive for her spelling but she just seems to know how to spell most words simply by reading a lot of books. I guess a lot of exposure to print/books helps her to remember how words are spelled/written. We do quick and random addition/substraction sums and review numbers.

Safiyya is doing a workbook on phonics/handwriting/spelling. She does a page each a day but to be honest she is not so keen on workbooks. So, if she is not willing I try not to force her. We just keep revising numbers, colors, shapes, phonics etc.

Generally speaking we all are doing fine and our homeschooling tactics are developing day by day lol. Girls are always asking questions on Aqeedah and I am always busy answering them or trying to find the right answer. Mentally it is very draining…it gets so tiring to settle their fights etc. But, alhamdulillah I should not complain too much. I realize how good my girls are when I see some other kids behaving lol.

I have some really good ideas and inshaAllah if Allah blesses them all I am hoping to make them happen soon. InshaAllah

Ibrahim took his 1st steps

Bismillah,

This post is about our boy. Alhamdulillah, Ibrahim started walking at just 10 months. He took his 1st steps a couple of weeks ago and now is officially walking. We are yet to buy a proper pair of shoes for him. Poor boy is borrowing Safiyya’s first pair of shoes (they dont get worn much right he-he ). He seems to borrow most things of his sisters, well we just say it doesnt really matter at this age lol. But, to tell the truth, we often don’t have time to take him to shops. Anyway, a visit to Clarks is long overdue inshaAllah.

He is so active physically, always on the move, mashaAllah. If he is not crawling, then walking, if not walking then ,climbing up and down the stairs. He does have very unique tricks that he loves to perform for us, mashaAllah. I need to record them sometime, inshaAllah.

Although everyone keeps saying he is big and healthy, he often has cold, subhanAllah. Coughs, runny nose and the past few days odd temperatures through the night etc, may Allah give him shifaa’ and make his illness the means of purification for us.

He went to his check up this week. He has 8 teeth, eats well, plays well, physically very active and weighed 13,5 kgs. Big boy, mashaAllah. He likes listening to some nursery rhymes on youtube, listening to surahs on our digital Qur’an, reading all sorts of books. He can use his index finger so well, he uses it for anything and everything. He makes a hook with his index finger and tries to grab things from under the table or sofa. He tries to open the door with that one finger. He turns the pages over with that hook style index finger.

He does say few words in our language, namely dad, grandma and grandad- maybe because these are easy to pronounce. He is learning the animal sounds and names of animals. He is also learning how to name his body parts. We ask him typical questions like “What does cow say?” or “Where is your ear? Show me your mouse?”. MashaAllah, he is doing so well on these.

We sing plenty of nursery rhymes with him. He likes Wind the Bobbin up best, also Apple Apple a a a and Once I caught the fish Alive. We watch both those on youtube, the ones by Barbara Milne. He gets real excited and copies the actions and tries to join in when it is playing. He seems to differentiate really well between sounds. He likes repeating after me too, he doesnt get the words right but he mimics my facial expression and says something in baby language in the same manner and tone. It is actually quite funny, Alhamdulillah.

We will continue in the same manner with him, listening to Qur’an daily, singing nursery rhymes, watching educational clips on youtube (the ones that help to learn phonics, numbers, shapes and colours for now), reading books and playing games. He is physically very very active anyway, so apart from taking him outdoors, parks, playgrounds as and when we can- I dont have to push him that much.

Oh, he started going to local playgroup on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I also plan to take him to the library on Thursdays with his sisters. Sisters are often kind to her but sometimes can be a bit mean. That often happens when I am cuddling him or playing with him, they will be like “Oh you dont cuddle us that way” or “Mommy why dont you ever play that game with us?” etc. SubhanAllah, they can be a bit jealous even if the gap between them and Ibrahim is so wide.

InshaAllah when he is a little older he can join his sisters. I am planning to do some painting and arts/crafts with him as well. InshaAllah, may Allah make him healthy and among the pious of this ummah, amin.

What to do with 6-12 months olds

Bismillah,

I have been wanting to write more about Ibrahim. My mom-in-law always asks me to write more about Ibrahim so that we know what activities he started doing at which month etc

I cant believe he is almost 8 months. It seems like yesterday, my days of being overdue with him and impatiently waiting for his birth, subhanAllah. And here he is, wearing 12-18 months clothes at just 8 months. All my kids grow very fast, mashAllah, so I have always had chunky fat babies lol.

He started growing teeth at 6 months and now at 8 months has 4 teeth- 2 at the bottom and 2 at the top. I have been reluctant to start brushing his teeth but we should start soon inshaAllah.

We have started weaning him around 5 months- nothing official but we would let him try tiny bits of food from our plate to get him used to different texture and flavour. Alhamdulillah, he showed much interest in joining in mealtimes and started eating very well right from the start. He now sits in high chair and happily tries to feed himself. I leave a little bit of food there so that when he tries to feed himself I quickly put my spoonful of food into his mouth. Team work, alhamdulillah.

We have started weaning him on fruits, mashed banana, pear, apple. I would squeeze pear, orange, and apple for him. Then we introduced cooked vegetables like mashed potato, carrots, broccoli etc. We make lots of soups so I would just take out the vegetables from the pot and mash them alltogether for him. He loves yogurt, peach and pear. He recently started eating rice and pasta. He has not tried meat yet but that is fine. He will have plenty of chance lol, inshaAllah.

Yesterday 15th February we made him bald a second time. He has a bath every other day and we have moved him to big bath sometime ago. He loves water and playing in the water. He loves playing with foams stuck to bathroom tiles. He tries to reach them and peel them off. It is like removing a sticker from paper and good exercise for his fingers.

He can sit independently, roll over to reach things and crawls backwards.

He likes holding objects, small toys, teethers and chewing on them. He loves ripping paper. Once he ate some bits of paper, usually he grabs any chance to quickly reach for papers lying around, rip small tiny bits and put them in his mouth.

He is read aloud 1-2 times a day and he loves books, Alhamdulillah. He has started playing very early. He would have reactions to facial expressions and games like peekaboo etc when he was few weeks old.

And last but not least, it has been 2-3 weeks since grandma started potty-training him. MashAllah I cant believe how well trained he is. He does most of his toiletry needs in the potty and we are saving on nappies. Alhamdulillah, usually we put him in potty after we feed him and most of the time the result is there lol.

So, my plans for him are:

  • BATH- keep bathing him every other day. Introduce other games during bath time, counting objects, talking about colour etc.
  • SWIMMING- I am planning to start swimming sessions with him on Sundays when his sisters are at Arabic school. Alhamdulillah the university pool does ladies only sessions where I can take him.
  • READ ALOUD- at least 2 books a day with Ibrahim. Make sure it is one-on-one inshaAllah. Alhamdulillah we have plenty of board books, with interactive bits so he cant rip the pages
  • QURAN- he listens to Qur’an in the mornings with his sisters. But we should do more focused, more organized Qur’an sessions with him. I remember Sumayya would listen to the whole of juzu amma daily at his age where I would do some baby gym with her on the gym ball with Qur’an reciting at the background.
  • DO PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES- such as babygym, baby yoga etc. Try to help him crawl better. He can now stand holding on to things but trying to improve his positioning. So, will keep on working on making him more mobile inshaAllah
  • PAINTING/COLOURING- InshaAllah he is old enough to be introduced to colors.
  • WALKS/PARKS/OUTDOORS- usually I take his sisters out between 30 mins-1 hour daily. We have not been able to take Ibrahim out much due to weather and it interrupts with his nap times etc. InshaAllah trying to get him out to fresh air as much as possible.
  • PLAY TIME- keep playing lots of baby games, nursery rhymes etc.
  • TALKING- he does get plenty of talking about things that surrounds him. I try to explain things to him (saying eyes pointing to his eyes, ears pointing to his ears etc)

Alhamdulillah these are the things we have been doing with him but want to do more constructively. I am especially trying to focus on 3 out of my list: 1- aid the physical development, do lots of baby gym, start swimming. 2- lots of together listening to Qur’an time and 3- lots of reading aloud time. And these 3 I would recommend to any moms who have 6-12 months olds inshaAllah.