O ye who believe! Fear Allah, and let every soul look to what (provision) He has sent forth for the morrow. Yea, fear Allah: for Allah is well-acquainted with (all) that ye do. (Qur’an 59:18)
If you are a parent who has daily house chores to complete, regular meals to prepare, perhaps a homeschool to maintain, or maybe an outside job to answer to, and of course last but not least, your children who need to be managed, then you have a grand opportunity to put away provisions for the morrow.
With the right intentions, your daily responsibilities can become a blessing rather than an annoyance. When you begin your next task, start with the intent to please Allah and receive your reward in the hereafter. Even though your intentions may be pure, your body has limitations. Here are a few tips on how you can spend your time more effectively throughout the day to complete the numerous chores at hand, insha’Allah.
1. Limit Extracurricular Commitments.
As parents, we want our children to explore their interests and experience the numerous adventures and stimulating activities that are out there in the world. Having outside interests is a valuable asset for our children to have. However, limitations are a reality. If you find that you have set yourself up for an aggravating schedule of chauffeur here for karate, and toting there for swimming lessons, you might have to rethink your commitments. Think about minimizing the number of activities your child is involved in, or even dropping them all together if they are becoming a miserable burden. Perhaps they can be rescheduled during summer time when your schedule and your kids schedule is less stressful.
2. Let Your Children Entertain Themselves
“I’m bored. There’s nothing to do. Can you take me somewhere?” How many times have you heard those words grate on your ears? As long as you know you are giving your child some personal time throughout the day, don’t take these calls of distress too seriously, and don’t let this lead you to turn on the TV as a form of entertainment for them. Here is a clever idea that you might wish to try instead: Write down a list of activities that your children can participate in when they bored. Here is a sample list:
- Listen to Quran or Islamic stories
- Play board games or cards
- Make a puzzle or fill-in word games
- Exercise, ride a bike or scooter, skateboard
- Draw and color
- Play with building blocks
- Make a scrapbook with photos or pictures
- Write a story and illustrate it
- Make beaded jewelry
- Bake or cook something
- Play basketball, jump rope, hula hoop
- Read a book (look online for more indoor activities.)
The next time your children complain about boredom, tell them to look at this list. If they say they don’t want to do any of those activities, tell them it’s their responsibility to find ways to entertain themselves, and you can feel comfortable in knowing that you have done your part, the rest is up to them. Keep in mind that a little boredom is not always a bad thing. Sometimes it can lead your child to discover new interests or to participate in creative play which is much healthier than TV viewing.
3. Limit TV Viewing
While we’re on the subject of TV watching, it would be remiss of me, if I didn’t suggest limiting the time you spend propped in front of the TV. Watching TV chops away a huge chunk of time that you could be using more effectively with your family. It’s not uncommon for families to watch 3 to 4 hours of TV a day. Just imagine how much homework you can check, healthy meals you can prepare, positive conversations you can get involved in, or house chores you can complete in 3 to 4 hours. Don’t let TV rob you of your precious time, and don’t let TV rob your children of their health or ingenuity.
Instead of loafing in front of the TV, let them out in the front or backyard and allow them to enjoy themselves with outside play, such as, basketball, tag, hopscotch, hide-and-seek, pool wading, skating, biking, the list of activities are endless. For inside play, collect card games, board games, puzzles, story books, supplies for story writing, picture drawing, coloring, arts and crafts and other fun activities they can entertain themselves with.
Here’s a tip, once your children have kicked the TV habit (after about a month), they we will begin to discover new activities to participate in, that they would never have thought of before. An entire new world of imaginative play and creative activities will evolve, insha’Allah. Just be sure to help your children along ,by providing some of the items mentioned above, and introducing them to new activities. This effort on your part will work wonders in the long run, insha’Allah.
4. Cook Quick Simple, Healthy Dinners
Finding time to cook healthy meals is a common concern for busy parents. It is possible to eat a healthy meal without cooking a full course feast. Discuss with your family the idea of cooking meals that are less painstaking, yet just as nutritious. Several days of the week, perhaps Monday, Wednesday, and Friday can be a quick-meal day. Here are a few menus that include all the 4 food groups:
- Oatmeal, fruit salad, carrot sticks, mixed nuts
- Scrambled eggs and toast, yogurt with mixed fruit, vegetable salad
- Tuna on pita bread, sliced cucumbers, fruit-yogurt smoothie
An added plus, is that your kids (depending on age) can prepare all of the items mentioned above by themselves. This provides you with more time to accomplish other tasks only you can complete. Check out your local library or online for more quick and easy snacks or meal ideas.
5. Remember Allah and Praise Him
According to hadith, the Prophet’s (saw) daughter Fatima, complained to her father about her hands troubling her because of the hard work she had been doing using a hand mill. She desired domestic help to assist her and ease some of her burden. Her father’s response was wonderful advice you can use when lingering late into the wee hours of night, helping your son with his algebra homework. This was the Prophet’s (saw) reply to his beloved daughter:
“Shall I direct you to something better than what you have requested? When you go to bed say, ‘Subhan Allah’ thirty-three times, ‘Alhamdulillah’ thirty three times, and Allahu Akbar’ thirty four times, for that is better for you than a servant.”
Remember to praise your Lord and ask him for assistance the next time you feel drained of all energy.
6. Read Quran and Hadith Often
It provides examples and references regarding the importance of family. Also, expose yourself often to material related to Islamic parenting and family matters. Remembering why you are here and why you should make an effort to fulfill your daily responsibilities, is essential. It can make the difference between dreading your responsibilities as drudgery or appreciating them as aspirations.