Here is a list of Sunnah of Eating for children. For the Manners in Islam series , we are teaching our children about table Manners in Islam according to how our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) taught us. We will be discussing eating and drinking according to the Sunnah and follow it up with activities.
How to teach children the Sunnah of Eating and Drinking According to Islam
As parents, don’t you agree that it is at meal times that our etiquette really show or our stress levels go up?
The best way to teach our children their manners is first by showing with our own habits and manners and then next teaching them through reminders.
Teaching a child anything (including their manners) is a five step process:
- Model the behavior
- Talk to them about the behavior
- Remind them the correct way to behave
- Correct them when they make mistakes.
- Have patience and be kind.
As Muslims, I wanted to teach my kids the etiquettes of eating and drinking according to the Sunnah. As I have different aged children, I was making sure its as appropriate for their ages and at the same time help them learn our Muslim way and differentiate the un-islamic way.
It has become a norm now that most families have adapted many practices that are against our teachings. For example,It is not the sunnah to eat with forks and knives or tearing things with our teeth. We are to eat with our bare hands and it is recommended to use three fingers. I chose this word (E is for Eating) particularly to remind them of this.
We also talked about the word Halal. My eldest is 7yrs old so he knows the meaning of the word. We have talked about what halal food is too. My 3yr old however is too small to understand. I would recommend the appropriate age to talk about this subject to be when the child is 5years old.
Before that age however, you can help them to recognize the word halal on packaged items. This is especially important for candy as many times there is stuff in there that is not appropriate for us Muslims.
We also look for the green dot that tells us that the product is suitable for vegetarians. I showed this to my daughter on some biscuits. My instructions for my kids are usually to look for either the word halal or the green dot. (Talking about helping your kids to recognize the word halal is a big chapter. I will need to address this in another post InshaAllah. If this is your first time here, you can subscribe to us below to be updated about all the new posts that get published here.)
While talking about the etiquette of eating and drinking according to the Sunnah, we discussed as many manners as possible. I tried to keep the atmosphere light by joking about all the wrong things that kids do too.
We enacted crazy ways to eat and why it is wrong. I asked them what they felt when they saw their baby sister smearing her porridge over her face while trying to eat it with her hands. Apart from this, here is a list of things we discussed.
- Eating with your right hand only.
- Starting you meals with the name of God and revision of the Dua
- Sitting straight and treating meal times as an act of Ibadah (worship).
- Tasting everything on the table and leaving alone anything which you don’t like. Our beloved Prophet PBUH did not criticize what he didn’t like. He just left it alone.
- Eating from what is near you on your plate and on the table.
- Drinking water in three breaths and the importance of it.
- Not eating in markets and why it is frowned upon.
- Why you should not slurp or lick your food.
- Talking about biting into your food and the modern food habits (Burgers and Pizza!) with your older children. How to eat it like a Muslim! (We had a fun discussion on this that I will talk about in another post.)
- The importance of following the Sunnah in everything we do (as the topic came up).
- The Dua after your meals to thank the Almighty for what he has given you.
- Thanking your host or your mom for the food too. The various ways you can repay the kindness of your parents.
The activity that we did along with this was to print out the placemat from Karima’s Crafts and color it. The kids loved to have their own special place mats. We placed this in a plastic and used it to mark their places on the dining table.
These are some of the ways I taught my kids about eating and drinking according to the Sunnah. We enjoyed the activity too. Do you have any more suggestions to share with our readers on how we can make this topic easier for our kids. I’d love to include your suggestions too!