A little over a year ago, I began to feel overwhelmed with having two toddlers at home. I began escaping the house to find suitable, intriguing activities to keep them occupied, because the days were long and my energy was dwindling. Mostly I would take them to the local library (lucky me I have several that are near my house) specifically to their Toddler programs which welcomed children 18 months – 3 years.
My kids absolutely loved hearing their favorite nursery rhymes, story book read alongs and creating a fun little craft alongside their library friends. And for me, it was a fun [and free!] way to kill an hour of the hectic day. I would be racing back to the library, any library that offered these programs, every day. And then one day I thought to myself, I wish they had something like this for my kids at our Masjid.
We are blessed to live just under 15 minutes from our Mosque, we attend every month for numerous occasions including Friday Prayers, Thursday night supplications, Eid prayers, Ramadan nights, and so many more occasions. We have a lovely Sunday school for older kids. But we had nothing that was designed for kids under the age of four. And when I went to my parents/husband, they said to me, What are you waiting for, why don’t you take the initiative and start a group?
With the help and support of Allah, I took the first step and organized a once-a-month toddler session at the Masjid. I would invite mothers I knew with little ones, I would buy snacks and juice boxes, scour my own library for simple Islamic books that would hold the attention of a 2 year old, and we would meet at the Mosque for 45 minutes each month for Toddler Storytime.
It was a treat…not just for the kids, but for us mothers too. Nobody really discusses how lonely a stay-at-home parents’ life can be. It was a chance for us parents to get a small break, chat with friends, and teach our kids in a collective way. This is what we needed all along, I thought. Not just in Ramadan or Muharram, but all year long.
Now our Toddler Storytime Sessions have become a popular event, and many parents demand it with pleasure. The kids absolutely love to take home a craft that they’ve made, they look forward to coming to the Masjid each week, and most of all parents feel welcomed with their little ones. We know how difficult it is to bring your child to the mosque where it’s customary to sit quietly while prayer and speeches carry on. These sessions are a positive place, where everyone feels welcome and our children are able to establish a connection with their mosque.
I never imagined how wonderful it would be, and I hope to continue to grow.
What kinds of things does your mosque do for young children? Maybe it’s about time you start a small group at your mosque? Leave a comment and we can talk about it 🙂
Great resources for Toddler Islamic projects: Teaching Young Muslims