The hard part is sticking to the routine and using the trigger (dinner time) long enough for the children to become attached to the habit of Quran and to enjoy the satisfaction of consistency and effort over time. Once the habit is engrained, it requires almost no effort from me. Now, my children remind me if I forget, and my four-year-old is distressed if I delay our Quran session. With almost no effort, I can enjoy the sound of children’s voices reciting the words of Allah at the end of the day.”
“A mother once told me that the Qur’an she read to her child while putting her to sleep was the Qur’an she retained the most. I didn’t really think too much of it because I thought, really? My children are probably exhausted by then and I was sure nothing would stick. A few months later I realized that I wasn’t as consistent as I would have liked, ensuring that my children received a daily dose of the book of Allah. By then I was also surprised that one night as I was reciting the few verses we read at night, my daughters suggested that they read Ayat Al-Kursi on their own—a verse I never “taught” them.
I was pleasantly surprised that my eldest new it and my middle one was almost there. I still didn’t think too much of it because we have been reading this particular verse for literally a few years now so of course they’d know it. I decided it wouldn’t hurt to at least read Qur’an in the evenings as I’m putting them to bed, to make up for my lack of consistency during the day—by now I was also interested to test this theory of bed-time retention.
So along with the few verses we read each night, I decided to also start the chapter we would have been memorizing next, Surat ash-Shams (chapter 91). I read it to them once each night and never asked them to repeat after me. I also avoided reciting it during the day. Two weeks later my eldest two had it memorized and you could make out most of the verses from my two-year old. We did the same thing with Surat Al-Balad (chapter 90) and have now moved on to Surat Al-Fajr (89). I think I now need to find a reviewing mechanism to ensure they don’t forget the chapters they do memorize.”
“Recently, I bought an authentic jelly bean candy machine. Like the ones in the grocery store. It sits on our kitchen counter displayed and taunting to those who pass by. This machine is exclusively a reward for children that practice their Quran. So my kids see the jelly beans, crave them and literally beg me to recite the Quran with them. It works so charmingly. The money they collect from the machine will inshaAllah go to charity. It works so well the neighbors kids ( not muslim) came by for an arabic lesson to earn jelly beans!”
For more on helping kids memorize Quran, read Tips for Teaching Quran to Young Children.