After the boys use the toilet and brush their teeth, and we have storytime, we have what what we now refer to as ‘surah and chat’. We usually recite:
*Usually, a shorter surah of their choice from Juz ‘Amma
(I’m choosing to do a short surah from Juz Amma so that they are accustomed with hearing these…so memorisation and salah insha’Allah become easier; the boys take it in turns to choose a surah…so I’ll say something like ‘do you want suratul Quraysh, suratun-Nas, Suratul Fil, Suratul Ma’un, suratul Dhuha?’ etc…they are now familiar with the titles so they sometimes ask for one unprompted)
*Du’a for sleeping
Chat consists of some questions we ask one another and we all answer. Our usual and most consistent three are:
*How was your day?
*What was your favourite part of the day?
*What are you grateful to Allah for today?
I also try to ask:
*Is there anything that you didn’t like/struggled with today? (Though not consistent with this one)
*Did you make any mistakes today? (What can you learn from them? And if relevant, what do you think you can do next time?)
We all answer, myself included…I hope asking these and having these chats will create emotional safety and closeness…insha’Allah…and I hope it’ll lead to us to not shy away from our mistakes but to own them, use them and learn from them…and so the mistake isn’t wasted but used for good iA. So on the days I have snapped, I usually mention that as my mistake and try to tell them what I’m gonna do next time insha’Allah…they also sometimes mention theirs and we make a plan for next time…we sometimes, outside bedtime, talk about the hadith of the Prophet SAW where he advised us to follow up a bad deed with a good one, and it acts as a nice principle when we talk about our mistakes…we can make it better, we can grow, we can use it as a springboard for good type of thing.
I like doing our gratitudes, too…to focus in on and ‘take in’ our blessings …and because, some days, it does take more of an effort to think of one for me, so it’s nice that this routine allows us to pause and think of one.
Recently, I also sometimes ask (to foster goodness between the boys, insha’Allah):
*What do you appreciate about your brother? (To each of them)
*Did you do anything kind for your brother today?
*Did your brother do anything kind for you?
(I will help them sometimes with these if they can’t remember…but they often do…’i said he could have a turn with my car’, that type of thing…)
The answers to all these questions are sometimes very trivial…sometimes just sounds…often full sentences…sometimes profound…often revealing…sometimes funny…it’s all allowed, alhamdulillah. And that’s how we roll