This year is FZ’s first Ramadan of fasting as a newly-minted baligha, or one who has reached the age of responsibility, according to Islam.
Even though we had her try some half-day fasts, and even full-day practice fasts, the month of Ramadan was a whole new thing altogether. Can someone ever really be prepared for the daily fasting, change in routine and lack of sleep? How could we help our daughter get ready for the holy month, full of its spiritual benefits, while not letting her get dragged down physically?
Fortunately my husband and I surrounded FZ with positive messages about the holy month of Ramadan. The days she fasted we treated her with her favorite iftaar, or meal to break the fast. And as a mother, I prepped myself with plans and activities for the month — things to keep her busy, occupied and not focusing on food.
Plus, there are lots of great resources out there for daily activities to keep kids entertained during the holy month. Here are just a few.
Tips on helping young ones reap the rewards of Shahr Ramadan
Too often as adults we let ourselves get caught up in the physical aspects of Ramadan – i.e. the hunger, thirst, fatigue, lack of energy, etc. But in reality we are actually doing a disservice to our young ones.
There are some ways on helping our young fasters turn the physical drain into spiritual growth, and thus redirecting our attention to the positive versus solely focusing on the negative.
- Plan a special daily activity: It doesn’t have to be big or grand. Even something as simple as going to the library, or taking a walk outside to discover a new flower or bird can recharge a fasting child. Even take your child’s help to prepare an iftaar snack or meal.
- Encouraging naps: Young kids who are fasting don’t usually understand the physical limitations of fasting and often get overtired doing their regular activities. Help them wind down and relax to not burn out.
- Getting closer to the Holy Qur’an: There are plenty of ways to help kids get more acquainted with the Holy Qur’an. See how many animals you can find mentioned among the names of chapters? Or learn about a new prophet.
- Focusing on prayer and dua: We can make prayers a little sweeter during the holy month of Ramadan. Help your child remember the poor, orphans, homeless, and oppressed.
- Volunteering and helping others: If there are any food banks or soup kitchens near you, try to spend a few hours a week and help out. Or even at the local masjid or center, have your child get involved with serving or clean up. This will help link the holy month to worthwhile activities.