When making homeschooling decisions sometimes we put too much weight on happiness and what makes our children happy and making sure they always do what they enjoy. Yes, children are an amanah (trust) from Allah SWT and we have certain duties and responsibilities towards them. We must guide them with kindness and mercy, but we also need to equip and prepare our children for the dunya and the akhirah.
In this homeschooling podcast I consider that sometimes, homeschooling may involve curriculum, activities, or reading books our children may find hard or don’t enjoy. These might not necessarily make them happy but they will benefit them by helping develop their characters and being ultimately being good for their life to come, InshAllah.
In Episode 71 of the Raising Mums podcast, I share how we can homeschool for the ultimate happiness, InshAllah.
Key Points from this Homeschooling Podcast Episode
Happiness is not the only goal for your children and your homeschool.
Also consider what is good for them, in this world and the next?
When you make a decision, consider what is good for them, not just what makes them happy.
It’s ok to choose a homeschool curriculum or activity that they do not enjoy.
Allah, the Almighty says, “And it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.” (AI-Baqarah, 2:216)
Launch Your Homeschool is an online course that will hold your hand and walk you through the beginning stages of homeschooling, built upon the framework of the Charlotte Mason philosophy.
I teach you how to craft a curriculum for your homeschool, how to choose the right resources and plan out your year. Create a homeschool experience that aligns with the values and beliefs! Whether you are homeschooling in the UK, or anywhere else in the world, this programme will help you to give your children an incredible education at home!
I show you the essential teaching techniques that you’ll need to know to get started. There’s even an entire module on how to manage your time so you can still cook, keep the house tidy and take care of yourself, all whilst homeschooling your children!
As screen usage becomes more widespread amongst children. With it, we also see a widespread reduction in reading for pleasure, an increase in mental health issues, a reduction in time spent in physical activities, and less time talking to family members.
However, if used intentionally, technology can can enrich you child’s learning experience.
So how do we find the balance? How can our children benefit from screens, whilst also being protected from the negative? Here are 8 ways to encourage a your children to have a healthy relationship with screens.
8 Ways to Reduce Screen Time for Children
1 –Talk to your kids
Simply telling them that they can’t have screen time because, “It’s bad for you,’ or worse, “Because I said so!” will only make children resentful towards you. Instead, explain to them your concerns and why you feel that they need to spend less time online or watching TV. If you involve them in the discussion and the decision making, and they will take ownership for these changes, making any transition easier for everyone.
2 – Set Boundaries
As I mentioned in this week’s episode of Raising Mums, it is so hard for adults to have self-control with their technology; and so expecting a child to exercise this kind of self-discipline is ridiculous. Instead, make it easier for them, by establishing boundaries around screen time.
This might mean only allowing screens on certain days, or at certain times of the day. Look at your family’s weekly schedule and mindfully think through – which are the best times for your children to use their technology?
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3 – Use Technology
There are now apps available that will help you and your children to develop a healthier relationship with screens.
I would recommend Mobicip. It works for multiple children, across all your devices, allowing parents to set times for when screen is allowed, and censor certain websites and apps. You can even censor keywords (such as Xmas or Minecraft!) If your child goes to a website or app with this content, Mobicip will prevent them from gaining access.
Apps like Mobicip are ideal for parents who may not be able to monitor what a child is viewing at all times, or families with more than one child.
4 – Use a Reward system
Rather than screen time being an expectation, make screen use a reward.
Children can use tokens or stars to earn screen time. For example 5 starts could earn a child 15 minutes of screen time.
Tokens could be given out for good behaviour, doing chores, saying all his daily prayers.
Get creative with this idea and have some fun!
5 – Reduce Number of Devices
Instead of having a TV in every room or each child having a device of their own, create a space in your home just for screen time.
For example, we have one TV, and a few tablets which are all used, charged and stored in one area of our home. Screens do not leave that part of the house. That means that the majority of our home is screen free!
This reduces the temptation children may feel to pick up a device or watch TV during the day.
6 – Encourage hobbies
Encourage your children to develop interests outside of their screens. This will take time, but remember it is often our children hood interests that develop into lifelong passions.
You can help your children with a new art set, or football or take them to new kid’s class. Perhaps you could introduce them to one of your interests and open their eyes to the world around them
7 – Be more Sociable
Instead of filling their weekends with gaming and YouTube, invite family and friends over.
Not only will this distract children from wanting to use their devices, but it will also help them to form friendship and closer ties with relatives.
8 – Use Audiobooks
To relax in the evenings, instead of switching on the TV, or scrolling through your phone, put on an Audiobook!
Likewise, instead of handing out devices on those long car trips, put on an audiobook, and enjoy a story together as a family.
Audible have the world’s largest selection of audiobooks.
They offer a 30-day FREE TRIAL, allowing you to chose a FREE BOOK (2 Free Books if you’re a prime member!). You can cancel anytime, and you still get to keep the audiobook!
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Teaching children about consent has become more important than ever. Consent is about allowing children to voice their emotions and say “no,” when something feels wrong or uncomfortable. It is a crucial part of their safety, and of our responsibility as parents, and yet within our communities we don’t talk about it enough.
The explosion of the #metoo movement is enough evidence that we need to activelystart teaching consent to our children; not when they hit puberty, but as early as two years of age.
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It may sound like a complex concept, but some practices if made a part of daily life, can easily instill this value in your child.
Before they even learn to speak, children are learning by observing and copying all that is happening in their environment. It is essential that we ‘model’ consent by practicing it with our spouses, friends, and other children around them, so they begin to understand what ‘consent’ looks like.
When they are two, start with giving them a choice in expressing consent and then honour it. Please remember, they only get a choice in situations that don’t involve any health or safety hazards. Sitting in a car seat, going for a vaccination, adhering to their bedtime, or wearing a jacket when it’s two degrees outside would be some of the examples.
“Do you want to wear starry PJs tonight or these dino ones?”
“Which book are we reading; Elmer the elephant or The Very Hungry Caterpillar?”
“Can I kiss you goodnight?” Respect their answer.
Model consent by asking permission before you change their clothes or wash their body in the shower. Wait for them to say yes before you proceed.
“Can I help you wash your back now?”
Allowing Children to say NO!
Children must understand that ‘No’ and ‘Stop’ are important words, to be honoured at all times.
If you are tickling them and they scream “Stop, stop” even as they’re laughing and having fun, stop tickling them immediately.
Encourage your children to ask for permission before touching, hugging or showing any kind of physical affection.
For example, if Maha wants to hug her friend goobye, you can say:
“Maha, let’s ask Ali if he wants a hug right now!”
If Ali clearly says ‘No’, or does not say ‘Yes’, you can cheerfully ask your child to wave goodbye instead.
“That’s okay, let’s wave bye bye to Ali!”
Similarly, do not force them to receive affection either, even from their aunts or uncles.
“Would you like to kiss Aunty Asiya goodbye?”
If they say no, respect their choice.
“Its ok, you can wave her goodbye, or blow her a kiss?”
Why Children’s Consent Matters
As we aim for a more inclusive world, we have to remember that there are individuals amongst us with additional needs, who may not be comfortable with any kind of physical contact at all. This is another reason why asking for permission before touching or hugging someone is so important.
We must teach our children that when somebody says No, or Stop, they must discontinue their behavior.
“Ali said no, and when we hear No, we must stop what we are doing immediately. No matter what.”
Also tell them that their No and Stop has to be respected and followed through by their friends.
“If you don’t like something and say No, your friend should stop. If they do not stop, it is okay to not play with them anymore.”
Intervene on their behalf if you have to and politely let the other child know the importance of honouring someone’s No and Stop.
Resources about Children Consent
Reading a book about Consent also helps in making this concept easier and simpler for children to understand. It also gives you a range of characters and situations to talk about as examples. No Means No! by Janeen Sanders is a great book about Consent that can be read with as little as 3 year olds!
Teaching Consent has to be an ongoing dialogue with your child, not just a one time discussion.
I hope this article helps parents and caregivers ease in to this discussion with their little ones. I will highly recommend printing the above poster from http://www.elisegravel.com and pasting it on your child’s bedroom wall or door, so it’s always visible to revise and reinforce.
If you hit any roadblocks, or need answers to any questions or confusions, please feel free to write to me or leave them in the comments below.
Rafia Amber is an Early Intervention Specialist with seven years of experience working with children with additional challenges. Throughout her career she has supported children in developing their academic, sensory, social and communication skills, and overcoming challenging behaviours. Her experience ranges from one-on-one sessions in the home environment to classroom settings in inclusive schools and early intervention centers.
Rafia has recently started blogging onInstagram to share her expertise with parents and caregivers. She aims to raise awareness about unconventional concepts such as Body Privacy, Consent, Safe/Unsafe touch, Abuse Prevention Strategies etc, that are indispensable for a child’s development. You can follow her HERE!