If you think kids (4-5+) are too young to understand the concept of Tawassul, I don’t think they are.
It is in their young age when we can help them develop their main ultimate aim: Qurbatan Illallah, objective: through the wasila of our awesome AhlulBayt.
Sheikh Hilli on our trip suggested, the best way to ask for Hajaats is to ask Allah for it and give him the wasila of the Imam or personality at whose door you’re standing.
Or ask the Masum, but as Dua Tawassul goes, ask the Masum ‘TO ASK’ Allah and to put in a good word for you.
You can give kids the analogy of a post office. We’re sending our requests to Allah, but choosing the fastest service for it to reach Allah (Alhamd, is there anyone faster than the AB and a moment better than bring in front of their door for wishes to be granted?!)
Some of these things may help distinguish and understand Tawassul better:
1. At the rowza choose a spot to pray Salaah where the Qibla is not the same direction as the Zarih.
2. Recite Ziyarahs facing the Zarih but hajaats facing the Qibla. (There’s nothing wrong with asking for Hajaats facing the Zarih or any direction, but until they understand the concept of Tawassul and esp if using Sh.Hilli’s suggestion, I found it easier to it this way)
3. Recite hajaats loudly if possible so they learn the format, e.g O Allah Please send our 12th Imam (af) we couldn’t answer Imam Hussain’s call, but we really want to answer I.Mahdi’s call, please Allah for the sake of the companions of Hussain, please make us of the companions of I.Mahdi (af)… Etc etc
4. Recite Dua Tawassul loudly in English, or ask them to read it!
5. Throughout, continue to stress how the Imams did everything for Allah and Allah only. They called themselves the Abd (slaves/servants of Allah) and what a great service they gave to receive such honor!
They don’t even ask for thanks or a reward, except love for their near ones. (42:23). Everything we should be doing is for Allah SWT too when we do that that’ll make our Imams happy automatically.
So InshA together with talking to the Imam (as) they’ll continue to talk to the Almighty.
And InshA understand the concept of Tawassul for success in this world and Shifa in the hereafter InshA.
All Honor and Praise belongs to Allah. (AJ)