1. Teach by Example
Children like to imitate their parents. Let them see you making wudu’ and taking your prayer mat once you hear the adhan.
As the parent, you are the primary example to your child of what being a Muslim means. If you prioritize the prayer in your day, and do not delay or miss it, your child will grow-up knowing its importance.
You can tell them,
“I have an appointment with Allah. I can’t be late!”
2. Start Young
It is reported that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said:
“Teach your children to pray when they are seven years old, and smack them (lightly) if they do not pray when they are 10 years old, and separate them in their beds.”
[Abu Dawod (459) and Ahmad (6650)]
Although it is not necessary for children to pray before seven years-old, it is still wise to create an atmosphere in the home that encourages them to pray when they are young.
3. Let Them Have Their Own Musalla
If you have space, allocate a specific room as a prayer room. If you cannot do this, then try to find a corner of a room that is only for prayer.
Children will understand how important the prayer is that it has even been given its own area in the house. Teach the children that this area is only for Salah and must be kept clean and tidy.
4. Small Steps
It can be a very dramatic jump to go from never praying, to praying all five prayers daily. So start in small steps.
5. Be Consistent
Although we want our children to love the prayer, there will be times when they feel lazy and do not want to pray.
As parent’s it is our responsibility to make sure that they pray, particularly by the time they are ten years-old. Do not allow them to miss the prayer. To establish the habit you must be consistent, no matter what!
6. Family Time
One way of encouraging a positive attitude to the prayer, is to make it a collective practice.
Try to pray at least once a day as a family, with the father leading the prayer. If your child is able, give him the responsibility of making the adhan (call the prayer).
Take your children to the Friday prayer and Eid prayers as often as possible. The power of seeing a whole community praying together is so important and will give them a strong sense of identity.