Ramadan has started, Alhamdulillah, and if you are a parent, this month brings the opportunity to bring love and excitement to your children through fasting and the unique ibadah that goes with the month. The household traditions that we create as a family give your child a positive feeling about the holy month of Ramadan.
It is particularly crucial for children living in the west to feel a deep connection with this month. As parents, particularly moms, we get so overwhelmed, and this trickles down to our children and prevents them from benefitting and feeling connected in Ramadhan. Instead, we want to create memories and take full advantage of the blessing of this month.
Given below are some tips on getting children excited for Ramadhan and creating memories that will stay with them throughout their lives. These tips can help both younger kids and children who will be fasting this month like teens. We will also talk about the challenges faced by children who are fasting and attending a public school.
If our children can associate love, happiness, and peace with Ramadhan, then they will automatically feel attached to this blessed month year after year.
Children love to imitate us. If they see us fast, they would want to fast too. If younger children like to skip their meal, let them do so and appreciate this accomplishment. They should always be congratulated and encouraged. For older kids who are about to fast, here are a few pointers to keep in mind.
- Make sure they are physically ready to fast
Before anything else, we must ensure they are physically ready by making sure that they are healthy. No comparison with any other kids because every child is different.
- Preparing them mentally
Children love to ask the why question. Offering them reasons as to why they must fast will be a vital motivating factor for them, to pull through the whole day without eating and drinking
- Distract them
The companions used to make toys and take their children along to the masjid to forget about their hunger.
- Give positive reinforcement
Encouragement and physical reward can be great motivation for kids. It can be preparing their food for Iftar, buying them something special, or simply praising them.
- Talk about the virtues of fasting in Ramadan
As adults, we already know how special Ramadan is, but kids don’t know that yet, and it is our job to tell them so that they get all hyped up for Ramadan.
- Eat good food during Suhoor
Make sure that your children wake up for the pre-dawn meal so that they have the energy to last for the day. A healthy Suhoor would include smoothies, multi-grain pancakes, oatmeal, and eggs. Ensure they remain hydrated throughout the day by providing drinks such as coconut water and fresh fruit juices rather than soft drinks.
2. Make Dua:
Dua is essentially a weapon of the believer. Let us use this weapon to ask Allah to help our children and us carry righteous deeds and help both of us in fasting and seeking abundance from this blessed month.
Many Muslim brothers and sisters choose public schools to educate their kids, which can create a lot of challenges for a fasting teen. We can take this as an opportunity to share our identity with others rather than hiding it.
Here are some tips for those teens attending such schools to help them fast in a non-Muslim environment.
3. Empower them:
- Have honest discussions about Ramadan, its virtues, and its spiritual aspects.
- Answer their ‘Whys’ and talk to them about reflecting on their lives and utilizing this time to set up good habits. The idea here is to make their moral compass swing back to Islam irrespective of what’s happening around them.
4. Avoiding Cafeteria:
- At lunch breaks, ask your teen to go to the library or help out a teacher. Staying away from the cafeteria can make help fasting easy.
5. Informing the school authorities
- A letter should be sent out to the principal, homeroom teacher, and especially the PE coach, explaining in detail your child’s physical and spiritual needs.
Finally, as you prepare for the holy month, remember that it must be fun and exciting for you to involve your young children in Ramadan. Make it exciting and entertaining so that when Ramadan begins, your children will be excited and ready to try their fasting.