Sending your child off to school can be both exciting and challenging, especially when it’s their first time stepping into the world beyond your home. While they embark on this journey of learning and growth, maintaining a strong connection and a sense of belonging becomes paramount. One simple yet powerful way to bridge this gap is through lunchbox notes. These little messages of love and encouragement can make a world of difference in your child’s school experience.
My eldest (8yr old) has joined an Arabic school to learn the beautiful language of the Quran, ahadith, and classical texts – after being homeschooled all these years. The transition wasn’t so easy. The fact that we had worked HARD on our Arabic all these years at home helped her score a spot in the Arabic school as pretty much an only non-native alhamdulillah, BUT every day is a challenge because the teachers don’t speak any other language than Arabic either. There seems to be a huge communication gap, and it was so frustrating for both of us at the start. It still is most days…I tried to make her journey as easy as possible, but as an adult, who has not been able to master this vast language (after spending 10+ years on it), I could also relate to her frustrations. Nothing really worked apart from these tiny little notes alhamdulillah. I got cute little sticky notes and a sticker book with encouraging remarks. They were too small, so I ended up designing my own. They made her feel seen, understood, encouraged, and most of all, connected to me – something we deeply cherished in our homeschool journey 💕
I keep telling her that in shaa Allah once she has learned Arabic, we can shift back to homeschooling. We’re giving it time till she is 10 – The most recent major study on language learning and age was conducted by researchers at Harvard and MIT. It concluded that starting to learn a new language before age 10 will give a learner the best chance of achieving proficiency similar to that of a native speaker.
I took inspiration from whatever notes I wrote to my daughter and edited them to make them generic – which can work great for your child, too, in shaa Allah. You will find jokes and other hadith-inspired notes – duas, positive affirmations, expressions of love and encouragement, etc.
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Building connection and communication with kids
When children leave the comfort of home for school, they often yearn for a piece of that warmth and reassurance from their parents. Lunchbox notes are like a hidden treasure they discover during lunchtime, a comforting reminder that Mom or/and Dad is always close by, even when they’re physically apart. These notes convey a sense of connection that helps children feel secure, loved, and supported in their new environment. This emotional anchor can have a profound impact on their overall well-being, helping them navigate the challenges of school with greater resilience.
Following are some of the messages included in the printable that I initially designed with my child in mind, but I hope they help you and your child too bi’idhnillah! (buying the printable will help you support us so we can keep producing more content for the ummah but we don’t mind you copying it to write handmade notes for your child, too):
1. Good friends are like perfumes; They make you smell good too – stay fragrant! – inspired by the following hadith:
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “The example of a good companion (who sits with you) in comparison with a bad one, is like that of the musk seller and the blacksmith’s bellows (or furnace); from the first you would either buy musk or enjoy its good smell while the bellows would either burn your clothes or your house, or you get a bad nasty smell thereof.” [Sahih al-Bukhari 2101]
2. اللَّهُمَّ عَلَّمْكَ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ – May Allah teach you the knowledge of the Book (Qur’an) and the wisdom (understanding). Prophet Muhammad ﷺ embraced Ibn Abbas رضي الله عنه when he made such dua for him. I will save your hug till you come home. – inspired by the following ahadith:
Narrated Ibn `Abbas: Once the Prophet (ﷺ) embraced me and said, “O Allah! Bestow on him the knowledge of the Book (Qur’an). [Sahih al-Bukhari 75]
Narrated Ibn `Abbas: Once the Prophet (ﷺ) embraced me (pressed me to his chest) and said, “O Allah, teach him wisdom (i.e. the understanding of the knowledge of Qur’an). [Sahih al-Bukhari 3756]
3. When you teach Someone beneficial knowledge, you will also have the reward when they act upon that knowledge. So learn good things and teach it to others! – inspired by the following ahadith:
The Prophet ﷺ said: “Whoever teaches some knowledge will have the reward of the one who acts upon it, without that detracting from his reward in the slightest.” [Sunan Ibn Majah 240]
The Prophet ﷺ said, “The best among you (Muslims) are those who learn the Qur’an and teach it.” [Sahih al-Bukhari 5027]
4. Allah is enough for you! As a protector, as a friend! You’re never alone. – inspired by the following aayah (especially when your child is going through bullying or anything like that at school, this may help boost their confidence in standing up for themselves):
“And Allah is most knowing of your enemies; and sufficient is Allah as an Ally (Protector), and sufficient is Allah as a Helper.” [4:45]
5. I’m sad that you are away from home but (it gives me joy knowing that) Angels lower their wings for you when you go out of the house to gain good knowledge. – inspired by the following hadith:
It was narrated that Zirr bin Hubaish said: “I went to Safwan bin ‘Assal Al-Muradi and he said: ‘What brought you here?’ I said: ‘I am seeking knowledge.’ He said: ‘I heard the Messenger of Allah say: “There is no one who goes out of his house in order to seek knowledge, but the angels lower their wings in approval of his action (being pleased with what he does).'” [Sunan Ibn Majah 226]
P.S. I mentioned good knowledge because of THIS hadith.
6. When you travel on a road to gain knowledge, Allah will help you travel on one of the roads of Paradise. – inspired by this hadith:
Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “Whoever takes a path upon which to obtain knowledge, Allah makes the path to Paradise easy for him.” [Jami` at-Tirmidhi 2646]
7. The knowledgeable person is better than the worshipper – just like the moon is brighter than the stars! Shine bright like the moon by Seeking good knowledge! Another note says: Gain abundance by gaining good knowledge. It is better than gaining wealth because it makes you like the heir of the Prophets! – both inspired by this hadith:
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “…The inhabitants of the heavens and the earth and even the fish in the depth of the oceans seek forgiveness for him. The superiority of the learned man over the devout worshipper is like that of the full moon to the rest of the stars (i.e., in brightness). The learned are the heirs of the Prophets who bequeath neither dinar nor dirham but only that of knowledge; and he who acquires it, has in fact acquired an abundant portion.” [Riyad as-Salihin 1388]
8. When anything distressed the Prophet ﷺ, he prayed. So pray to Allah, whenever you feel stressed out. Allah is always listening! – inspired by this hadith:
Hudhaifah said: When anything distressed the Prophet (ﷺ), he prayed. [Sunan Abi Dawud 1319]
9. Guidance and knowledge are like rain falling upon the earth; the land that benefits from the rain grows a lot of greenery – Be that green land! Take the beneficial knowledge to apply it in your life! – inspired by this hadith:
Abu Musa reported Allah’s Apostle (ﷺ) as saying: “The similitude of that guidance and knowledge with which Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, has sent me is that of rain falling upon the earth. There is a good piece of land which receives the rainfall (eagerly) and as a result of it there is grown in it herbage and grass abundantly…that is the similitude of the first one who develops the understanding of the religion of Allah and it becomes a source of benefit to him with which Allah sent me…” [Sahih Muslim 2282]
10. May Allah protect you from harm and keep you safe. Allah Sends Special angels to guard you! You are in my duas! – inspired by these aayaat:
“For each one are successive before and behind him who protect him by the decree of Allah.” [13:11]
“And He is the subjugator over His servants, and He sends over you guardian-angels until, when death comes to one of you, Our messengers take him, and they do not fail .” [6:61]
Boosting kids’ self-confidence
The words you jot down in those notes can have a lasting effect on your child’s self-esteem. Encouragement, compliments, and reminders of their unique qualities remind them that they are valued and cherished. Messages like below may help boost the child’s self-confidence – which equips them to face the day’s challenges, from classroom activities to making new friends.
- You are honest and brave enough to tell the truth. You face your fears head-on.
- Nobody knows everything except for Allah. So don’t be afraid to ask questions. That’s how we all learn!
- You are beautiful, just the way you are! Allah made you in the best form. Your heart and your deeds can make you even more beautiful! – inspired by the following aayah (the first half of the sentence):
“We have certainly created mankind in the best of stature” [95:4]
and the hadith (for the last part of the sentence):
“Verily Allah does not look to your bodies nor to your faces but He looks to your hearts,” and he pointed towards the heart with his fingers.” [Sahih Muslim 2564b]
4. You are responsible. You take care of your tasks on time. You trust Allah to help you when you help yourself! – inspired by this hadith:
“…Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves…” [13:11]
5. You are a good listener, and your empathy helps you connect with people. Allah helps those who help others. I can’t wait to listen to all of your stories when you come back home. – inspired by this hadith:
Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Whoever relieves a Muslim of a burden from the burdens of the world, Allah will relieve him of a burden from the burdens on the Day of Judgement. And whoever helps ease a difficulty in the world, Allah will grant him ease from a difficulty in the world and in the Hereafter…And Allah is engaged in helping the worshipper as long as the worshipper is engaged in helping his brother.” [Jami` at-Tirmidhi 1930]
6. Your Smile can brighten anyone’s day. Keep Sharing it with the world. It’s Sadaqah! – inspired by this hadith:
Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Your smiling in the face of your brother is charity…” [Jami` at-Tirmidhi 1956]
7. Mistakes help you grow! It’s OK to start over because good erases the bad. Another note says: We all make mistakes. Nobody is perfect except for ALLAH. The important part is to fix our mistakes and learn from them. – inspired by this hadith:
Abu Dharr said: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said to me: “Have Taqwa of Allah wherever you are, and follow an evil deed with a good one to wipe it out, and treat the people with good behavior.” [Jami` at-Tirmidhi 1987]
8. You treat others the way you like to be treated. You are respectful towards the elders and kind towards the young ones. Allah loves those who are kind. Allah loves YOU! and So do I. – inspired by this hadith:
The Prophet ﷺ said: “He is not one of us who does not have mercy on our young and does not respect our elders.” [Jami` at-Tirmidhi 1919]
9. A grateful heart is a happy heart. A grateful tongue brings abundance to life. I am grateful for you in my life! What are you grateful for? – inspired by this aayah:
“And when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you …'” [14:7]
P.S. You can help your child write answers back to you at the back of the note. This way it may feel like them sending a text to you from school. It may also help them tap into their mindful brain and help regulate their nervous system this way in shaa Allah.
10. You are patient. You wait your turn and do everything with Ihsan. Allah loves those who are patient. Allah loves YOU! and so do I. – inspired by this hadith:
“…And (know) that he who refrains from begging others (or doing prohibited deeds), Allah will make him contented and not in need of others; and he who remains patient, Allah will bestow patience upon him, and he who is satisfied with what he has, Allah will make him self-sufficient. And there is no gift better and vast (you may be given) than patience.” [Sahih al-Bukhari 6470]
Jokes for kids
Lunchbox notes also provide a unique opportunity for communication. Children often open up when they feel safe and loved. Encouraging your child to share their thoughts or feelings in their lunchbox or responding to their notes can establish an open channel of communication that extends beyond school. This habit can help you stay attuned to your child’s needs and concerns, ensuring that they always have a trusted confidant to turn to. Jokes lighten up their mood if they may be having a hard time at school. Here are some of the ideas I personally used and my child found them hilarious (even if some of them may sound silly and simple to you):
- Why did the student bring a ladder to the School? Because he wanted to go to HIGH School.
- What is a cat’s favourite colour? Purr-ple!
- Why did the math book look sad? Because it had too many problems!
- Why was 10 afraid of 7? Because 7 (8) 9.
- Why did the student eat her homework? Because the teacher told her that it was a piece of cake.
- What did the Spider do on the computer? Created a WEBsite.
- Why did the doughnut visit the dentist? Because it needed a filling.
- Why do bees have sticky hair? Because they use honeycomb.
- What do you call a sad strawberry? A BLUEberry!
- Why did the student do multiplication problems on the floor? The teacher told them not to use tables!
- Why did the banana go to the hospital? Because it didn’t peel so good.
- How do you organize a Space party? You planet!
- Why was the computer cold? Because it left its windows open.
- What do you call a cheese that isn’t yours? Nacho cheese!
- Which nut always Seems to have a cold? Cashews!
- Why couldn’t the bicycle stand up by itself? Because it was two-tired!
- Why didn’t the Sun go to the college? Because it already has many DEGREES!
- What do elephants wear on their legs? Elepants!
- What do you call a bear with no teeth? A gummy bear!
- Why did the computer Squeak? Because Someone stepped on the mouse!
- What stays hot even in the fridge? A hotdog!
- Why did the student wear glasses in the math class? To improve di-vision!
- What do you call a shoe made from a banana? A Slipper!
- How do bees go to school? On a School buzz.
- Why don’t eggs tell jokes? Because they might crack up!
In a world that sometimes feels fast-paced and disconnected, lunchbox notes offer a simple yet profound way to nurture your child’s emotional well-being. These small gestures of love and support have the power to strengthen their connection to you, boost their self-confidence, and foster a deep sense of belonging. Here are some secular ideas to take inspiration from – scarymommy and momjunction.
Take a moment each morning to write a note, share a joke, or express your love. I personally do it at night when it is not a rush-hour. These little acts of care may seem small, but they plant seeds of connection and belonging that will grow into strong and resilient hearts and minds, ready to embrace the world with confidence and love.
My daughter absolutely loved the animal parent-and-child designs (because she keeps labeling them as Ama, Baba, and herself). Which one is your favourite from THIS PRINTABLE ISLAMIC LUNCH BOX NOTES? 🌸