How 'Rhyme and Rhythm' can help you teach your children more effectively - Atlasia Kids Magazine

How ‘Rhyme and Rhythm’ can help you teach your children more effectively

Brain and Melody

Can you remember the lullaby sung by your mom, or a catchy meaningless tune from a childhood memory? Our brains have emotional memories that are attached to the type of rhythms we’ve engaged in. Research shows that humans are born with an enormous number of neurons, more than we use when we get older. Babies need those “extra” neurons, for they have to process everything that flows into their perceptions. These neurons cannot flourish when we don’t utilize them efficiently; by the age of 8, our brain removes the neurons that are not needed as much.

Therefore, it is easier to teach languages and tunes to children as their brain uses those excess neurons for learning purposes. It’s the same with rhythm and timing. They help build the foundation for a child’s emotional and interactive development.

I’m sure you’ve enjoyed tapping or nodding to a song or beat. In developmental activities, rhythm and timing involves a child to incorporate sound and vibration with movement. The coordination helps a child set their own beat, be it to an external or internal source.

It is also why Allah (swt) created the Quran to be recited in such a beautiful, rhythmic and inspiring manner.

God has sent down the most beautiful of all teachings: a Scripture that is consistent and draws comparisons; that causes the skins of those in awe of their Lord to shiver. Then their skins and their hearts soften at the mention of God: such is God’s guidance. He guides with it whoever He will; no one can guide those God leaves to stray. (39:23)

Rhythm and Timing

Rhythm and timing are the art of setting up a routine and following it. The routine to wake up, sleep, play and study at a specific time and sequence. Research shows that children thrive when they have a routine as it helps them get into a harmonious rhythm which in turn improves their cognitive ability.

Infants and children naturally enjoy dancing and singing along. Children’s play-along represents far more than just following a physical activity, it reflects their ability to listen, understand directions, and follow social cues. The ability to synchronize also reflects young minds developing a timing system, becoming engraved into their working memory.

Games like jumping rope, playing with a ball, solving math questions, and certain video games* help improve timing. Although we encourage Atlasians to play outside and limit screen time of course, parents can limit their play time in order to foster healthy screen time routines.

As children, we begin learning the alphabet as a song and perhaps in grade school or college you have come across pneumonic to help remember complicated concepts like PEMDAS. Nursery rhymes and poems have been memorized by heart, carried through generations, and shared in the playground; we even remember them into adulthood. The inner workings of these fun pastimes include speech and language development, improved reading skills, and memorization.
Islam being a desciplined way of life, rhythm and timing is encouraged; it plays very a important role in all our lives be it in adulthood or childhood. Waking up to the call of Azaan and reciting the Quran in the morning are examples of how “adhering to specific timing” are engraved in building our habits as Muslims.
To incorporate rhythmic patterns and thereby building good habits from infancy, here are some suggestions that you can follow:
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1. Reciting Quran to a child in the womb

Reciting Quran everyday is what every Muslim has been advised to do. As a parent you may be aware that even while a child is in the womb, reciting the Quran or talking to the baby and especially your voice impacts fetal development. Scholars say that Quranic recitation and making duas have a soothing effect on the baby. Mothers can recite Surah Mariam and Surah Yusuf to their babies. Speech, or talking, reciting, playing music, all help in developing a baby’s speech and language. Verbal communication helps babies retain words in their memory as they begin developing an acute sense of hearing in the belly.

2. Wudu (Ablution) in the morning

Making Wudu in the morning can help children start their day with purity. Remembering to make wudu helps establish a routine, simultaneously instilling its importance in mundane – a habit and a necessity.

3. Learning a Dua

Teach your child a dua and repeat it throughout the day, this will help build momentum, learning a new dua after each one is mastered. Children will build on the rhythm of memorization, timing, synchronicity and advancing their flow of learning. The flow will help children in speech and language development and learning quickly.

4. Asma ul Husna

 

As mentioned by our Atlasian mom Nusaibah Ali on our social media posts, it is a great place to start with learning from patterned recitations. Improve your knowledge of the beautiful names of Allah while putting the children to sleep. Challenge them on the names and see how many they remember. Order, print, or make them yourself – it can even be a fun project!

5. Nasheed Sing Along

Songs and singing along light up our brain. Singing Nasheed and Arabic alphabets, or reciting Duas along with your children will establish a norm they can anticipate. Inclusion of remembrance, dhikr, surahs, and even duroods (peace and blessings upon our beloved Rasul) will aid in building blocks of memory.
Rhythm, rhymes and timing are not just a part of a human being’s routine. Revolutions of the sun, moon and even the singing of birds at Fajr time follow a clockwork pattern, repeated over time. The discipline we learn in Islam follows mirrored repetition in our daily practices so that we may establish prophetic habits in the presence of too many distractions. Likewise, we encourage children to establish these habits earlier in childhood so that they may fall back on them as adults especially when they face challenges.
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