Below are some common questions that you might be asking about your child and praying. The answers might help you. If you have any other questions be sure to put it in the comment.
Question: How to connect my child to Allah to want to pray instead of praying out of fear?
Answer: Talk to your child about Allah's love and mercy. Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “When Allah completed the creation, He wrote in His book with Him upon the Throne: Verily, My mercy prevails over My wrath.” Parents tend to forget this and try to use Allah's anger to instill fear in their children to get them to do things.
The better way is to get your child to feel Allah's love and mercy. Tell your child "Allah loves you when you pray" instead of "Allah will punish you if you don't pray". Tell your child constantly that Allah loves him when he's kind, good and so on. Also see the section on Form a Connection with Allah.
Question: I tell my kids that when they pray they're meeting Allah so they can ask for whatever they want. But sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. What should I do?
Answer: By telling your child this, she might equate praying with asking Allah for something. The problem with this is when your child doesn't feel the need to ask Allah for anything? She'll reason that she doesn't need to pray.
It's better to equate praying with pleasing Allah. Say, "Allah is pleased with you when you pray" and "We get to go to Jannah when Allah is pleased with us". Keep nurturing your child's connection with Allah and instilling awe, wonder and gratitude for Allah.
Question: How do we respond to kids saying they don't want to pray?
Answer: This depends on your child's age. If younger than 7 years of age then try to connect your child to Allah, instill awe, wonder and gratitude to Allah, pray together and make it playful (see prayer article). There's still time insha Allah to turn your child around to want to pray.
If your child is older than 7 years of age then try to connect your child to Allah, instill awe, wonder and gratitude to Allah, pray together and respond with logic (see prayer article). Remember to use concrete reasoning for 7-11 year olds and abstract reasoning for 12 year olds and above.
I will include here the concept of motivation. Try to give your child the motivation to pray. How motivation works is that there needs to be 4 things for it to work: it is their choice; it is meaningful to them; it is doable; and they feel a connection to others.
Children don't like to be made to do things so give your child a choice, "Do you want to pray now and be on time to please Allah or do you want to pray later and earn less reward?"
Your child probably can't see the point in praying. It probably has no meaning to him. For younger children it's enough for them to understand that Allah is pleased with them for praying but for older children they need to understand the significance of praying in their daily life. Have discussions and teach it to them.
Does your child know how to pray? Don't ask your child to go pray by himself if he doesn't know how. Maybe he feels awkward in the prayer positions. For younger children, praying together will give them the practice they need. Older children might feel self-conscious especially if they haven't prayed much before when they're younger. By praying together now, he can follow others.
Another thing about telling your child to go pray by himself now is that it'll make him feel disconnected from others. This is why praying together as a family is much better. He'l feel a sense of connection to the family when you all pray together.
The next time your child says no to praying, keep these 4 things in mind and change the way you ask him to pray.
Have you got a question about children and praying? Ask below in the comments.
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