I miss the “good old days” when children played outside until sunset and argued because it was time to come inside. Children were fit and healthy and never suffered from conditions like ADD, ADHD, Autism, Asthma, Eczema, and an array of food allergies. However, it has come full circle. Nowadays, we have to argue with them to go outside and almost every family has a child with one or more of the aforementioned conditions or a food allergy of some sort. Since when did childhood become so rife with “conditions”?
The reality is, however, that the world has evolved and we have to evolve with it for the benefit of our beloved children. One of the best things one can do, is to have a routine. Even teenagers need a good night’s sleep or they are miserable and sluggish during the day. Here are some of the things we can do, to help keep our teenagers focused and healthy during the school week.
Have a set bed time and stick to it. Our children have to go to bed by 9:30 pm every school night. Children need enough rest in order to concentrate during the day. We switch off the internet so that there’s no social networking etc.
Get an early start. Our children get up early for the fajr prayer, after which they read Quraan. In summer, when fajr is very early, they go back to bed until 7:00 am when we wake them.
No cell phones during school time. The last thing a teenager needs is a distraction. I have a rule that if you are caught using your cell phone during school time, it will get confiscated.
No TV or gaming at all on school days. Their minds need to be clear for maximum learning to take place. The more television and gaming that they are allowed, the more day-dreamy and distracted they are during school time. There are plenty of other things to do after school. Read a book, practice archery, swim, play a board game, see a friend.
Have healthy eating habits. Lots of water, fruit and whole food. We don’t allow sweets (candy), chocolates, potato crisps (chips) or fizzy drinks, at all on school days. We generally avoid fizzy drinks, but allow them occasionally. Diet is a main contributor to hyper activity in children which leads to lack of concentration in school.
Exercise. My boys attend mixed martial arts classes on Sundays. They all swim most days and practice archery. The boys also have a mid week training session and take an 8 to 10 minute walk to the masjid at least once every day.
Chores. Children need to be actively involved in the day to day running of the household. This is one way of teaching them to be responsible and thankful. In our home, everyone gets a turn to assist with cooking, laundry, sorting the re-cycling, taking out the bin, washing dishes, etc. A chore cycle lasts for one week. Then each child rotates to another set of chores. This way everyone gets a chance to help with everything. I have enclosed a copy of our 4-week chore chart as an example.
Written by Basheerah Van Wyk Mollagee, South Africa.
Basheerah is mother to 5 children. she has been home schooling for over 20 years. Her two eldest daughters are studying towards bachelors degrees with IOU (Islamic Online University) Basheerah is a certified ECD teacher and has a TEFL diploma. She is studying towards a bachelors of education degree, also with IOU. Basheerah writes a blog aimed at Muslim South African home schoolers. She also consults with and assists new home schooling families.