Tag Archives: children

The First Days of Fasting

By Saraa Mahfouz

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I felt excitement when I learned that I will be fasting that Ramadan. I was almost 9 years old and Ramadan was during the winter months. The days were shorter and the breeze became cooler.

I remember telling my mom what I wanted for Suhoor; a bowl of my favourite cereal and glass of juice. When my dad woke me up with a slight knocking at the door and coming to my bedside speaking quietly, I immediately jumped out of bed. We sat together at the breakfast table and started eating. My dad reminded me to make the intention and then smiled at me proudly. It was almost time to for school and I brushed my teeth and headed out to the world.

The first thing I did as I got to school was rush to my teacher and tell her I was fasting and that I couldn’t eat or drink all day. My teacher seemed happy but confused as she didn’t know what was going on. She asked if I can explain more and maybe do a presentation to the class. I was really excited and nervous at the same time. At that time I was the only student in the school who wore a hijab. There were other Muslims in the school and many were fasting as well.

After the morning announcements were made my teacher called on me to come up to the class and explain what Ramadan was. I walked slowly to the front of the class and started telling my classmates about how I will fast for the month, no eating or drinking from morning until evening. Of course my knowledge of the subject was limited at that age but I explained to them that I was fasting to recognize the children in the world who don’t have food. Many of the students asked if they can fast as well. It was an exciting feeling and I felt proud of myself. The next day almost the whole class said they were fasting!

Fast forward 15 years later. I have my own classroom and my own set of students. The first day of Ramadan came during the fall. It was the first week of school and Ramadan had already begun. My students were the same age as me when I first fasted and the excitement was the same if not more. This time all the students in my class were Muslim but all of them had different cultural traditions. Students came rushing to me in the morning to tell me they were fasting with the same speed that I once had.

I imagined myself running through those doors excitedly telling my teacher. The students were proud that they were fasting and most of them knew they were fasting for the same reason and more. They wanted to decorate and sing Ramadan songs. They wanted to share their stories of breaking their fast with their families. I looked at them with pride the same way my father did that first morning of fasting. I thought to myself that I couldn’t wait to share the traditions with my own little family.

About the Author

Saraa Mahfouz is a mom of two boys (3 and 1) and is expecting a girl in July. She has been an elementary teacher for 6 years and has a passion for sharing her thoughts and experiences with others.  She started blogging in her university years but motherhood and her two busy boys have since become her first priority. Saraa also dabbled in photography for some time. She is very excited to get back into writing and sharing her passion with the muslimmoms.ca community.

The Distance Between: Tips for Those Who Work Afar

By Mona Ismaeil

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The Canadian economy has taken a great hit this past year. There isn’t a single Canadian home that hasn’t felt the pain. Many people have lost their jobs,  stay-at-home moms have been forced back to work and for some homes like my own it means one parent travels for work.

This unnatural living situation is not ideal and it can take a toll on the whole family. It takes a great deal of sacrifice from everyone but there are many ways to make this hopefully temporary set-up a little  easier. Remember the time spent apart, the time differences, or the distances between, the same rules apply.

The Couple:

Remember you are still a couple. You still need to connect anyway you can. A simple “Good Morning” or a check-in mid-day can make the world of a difference for both people. For the one travelling, it lets them know they are not forgotten and for the parent at home, it lets them know they are still supported and appreciated.  Also, be sure to talk as often as possible. It doesn’t have to be a long conversation, just a quick check in is all you need. Remember to say “I love you” as much as possible! Be sure to still keep the travelling parent in the know about day to day happenings. This could include things like telling them about a lunch date you had with a friend, or how you found a good deal for cable. Also, give them time to tell you about work, or an experience they’ve had while away. My husband and I know pretty much everything about each other’s day. We share almost every detail and for some that may be a little much but for us, it’s what keeps us connected. It’s like we’re never apart.

The Kids:

It is vital for the family dynamics to keep the travelling parent as much a part of the home life as possible. This means sharing with them everything big and small, good and bad that takes place at home. It is important to give the travelling parent an opportunity to give your children praise for the positive things and to discipline at the same time. For example, when my daughter is exceptionally well-behaved or she learns something new, I make a point of telling my husband so that he can praise her and tell her how proud he is of her. At the same time, if she has had poor behaviour, I also tell him and he talks to her about it. That way she knows Daddy is still as much a part of the family as Mommy. I take tons of pictures of the kids doing different things and share them with my husband. Playing, eating, bathing, laughing, crying, everything! My daughter even asks me to take pictures to send to Daddy so he can see her painting or so he can see her outfit that day.  I find this helps when our daughter talks to him and tells him about something she did he can respond in a way where he knows what she is talking about. She loves this! They can have a conversation and he doesn’t feel lost and she feels like he’s a part of it all.

The Routine:

It’s important for any well-oiled machine to run smoothly, that there be a system in place. For a family, routine is that system. As one parent leaves, the other parent is left to hold down the fort and naturally must find their own way to make it work on their own. That means that they adapt by finding their own routine. This may include meals, bed time routines, and routines for weekends vs. weekdays. When the travelling parent comes home, it can disrupt the routine you have put in place and that is ok… to an extent. Although it’s exciting when Mommy or Daddy come home and children are hesitant to sleep early because they want to tell stories and play games it is important to keep with the previously established routines as much as possible. If you allow it lax too much, you will undoubtedly suffer to get it back in order later on. Starting over again is just not fun!

The Communication:

Open, honest communication is very important in any marriage but it is even more important when there are factors which can make that difficult. No matter the time difference, the distance between you or how long you are apart (a day or a month), it is essential to keep communication strong. Ensure you have the tools to be in touch. We are living in a very technologically advanced world and this should be taken advantage of! A call to check in, a text message with a picture or an hour long video chat, these will all help the communication and connection strong.  Some tools we have used are:

  • WhatsApp
  • WeChat
  • Skype
  • Facebook Chat
  • Facebook Voice Call
  • Viber

If your spouse travels, what do you do to make it a little easier?

About the Author:

Mona Ismaeil is  the Associate Editor Muslimmoms.ca. She is also an elementary  teacher turned blogger and writer. Mona is the proud owner of Modern Hejab and stay-at-home mom to a sweet little girl. She loves to travel and see all the world has to offer with her family.

20 Lessons I Learned in 20 Years of Parenting

By Rahila Ovais

20 Lessons I Learned in 20 Years of Parenting

Ever had a job where you had no previous experience or training; didn’t come with an instruction manual, and people’s lives were at stake? Well that’s parenting!  Here are some of the lessons I have learned while on the job.

  1. If you are not going crazy, you are not doing it right.

  2. Never argue with your husband in front of the kids. Remember you and your husband are a team. When it comes to parenting, you are only strong if you work with each other.

  3. Schedule regular date nights with your husband to keep your sanity.

  4. Whatever you do, never ever compare your kids with other kids. Also important is to never compare your parenting style with other parents. We are all being our best and doing the best we can for our families.

  5. Your kids are not a reflection of you. You will parent each child the same way yet they will all still grow up to their own personality; cherish that.

  6. No secrets and no lies should be the standard.

  7. Set certain expectations in stone.  In my home, it was important for me that the kids learn Salah and Quran before any other extracurricular activities. My parents won’t even let me have breakfast until I prayed two rakats of Fajar no matter what time I woke up.

  8. A family that prays together stays together.

  9. Take lots of pictures of your kids when they are young. You will be glad you did that when you are old.

  10. Insanity is hereditary; you get it from your kids

  11. Be friendly with your kids but you don’t have to be their best friend.  You job is to be a parent first.

  12. Spend the first ten years of parenting establishing your authority because if you don’t those next ten years will really suck.

  13. It is your circus and those are your monkeys, take responsibility.

  14. Kids do not remember what you taught them; they will remember what you are.

  15. If you want to grab your kids’ attention just try sitting comfortably and open a chocolate bar.

  16. Being a mother means developing “the look” that stops misbehaviour in its tracks.

  17. Don’t confuse “what works” with “what is right”.

  18. Actions speak louder than words. Enough said.

  19. You will learn a lot about yourself when you become a parent. For example how can you go through an entire day with only two hours of sleep.

  20. Don’t waste time trying to be a perfect parent raising perfect kid; love, nurture, cherish and happily live the time you have together.

 

About the Author: 

Rahila Ovais is a mother to four ranging from 20 to 5 years old. She’s called Jeddah, KSA, where she was born and Karachi, Pakistan, where she was brought up, her homes before moving to Toronto twenty years ago. She is also a very opinionated person who has a hard time keeping her thoughts to herself. You can follow her on Facebook: HijabiMommy.

Wipe-off Islamic Calendar Craft

By Sukaina Imran

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Cold snowy days when you are cooped indoors is when the ‘I’m BORED!’ monster comes out full force. To keep your little ones occupied at home and get a dose of Islamic knowledge on the side, this easy DIY Islamic calendar craft is a treat. You get to spend some quality bonding time with your children and it’s not just a calendar that you make, you are also making a memory of a cosy evening spent together.

The supplies are easily found, you can buy a dry-erase calendar from any dollar or craft store, use that as your template and get crafting.

These pictures are self-explanatory in themselves.

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About the Author: 

Sukaina Imran is a Montessori trained teacher from Pakistan. She moved to the US after getting married and worked in an Islamic school in Texas for three years. She also has a child psychology diploma. After the birth of her first child, Sukaina quit formal work and decided to put her Montessori teachings to bring her children closer to Islam

How (NOT) to Teach Your Children to Play Ludo

By Rahila Ovais

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I am sure all moms from South Asia are pretty familiar with the board game Ludo; the beloved family amusement in life before internet and computers. It was our favorite entertainment during  summer breaks, family sleepovers or power outages through long winter nights; where everyone is an expert on the rules of the game, always bending the rules to favor their own move. For those of you who don’t know what Ludo is please refer to the game rules here.

Over this past winter break in an effort to keep the kids entertained with a new activity every day and after ruling out Scrabble and Taboo, we decided to have a game of Ludo one night with my kids; MJ 19 years old, MJ2 13 years old and DJ who is 5 years old. You all can probably already imagine how the night went given the ages of the players.

As per the rules, the one who rolls the highest number on the dice goes first and you need to roll a six to get your pieces out of their giant square boxes. Well lo and behold, the little one rolls a six, talk about beginner’s luck!  Not just one six but three times! At this point MJ2 claims DJ must have a trick up his sleeves to be able to roll out sixes every time; she is now determined to find that out by hook or crook. After several cheating attempts she gets her way. Meanwhile MJ still hasn’t been able to roll a single six! She claims that she does not cheat like MJ2.  This in turn makes MJ2 furious and an argument takes place which requires referee intervention. (Kindly note: a normal Ludo game does not require a referee) MJ makes MJ2 lose a turn as payback for cheating; there is another argument and intervention where DJ then draws a map on a paper outlining the order of each player’s turns.

Another rule of the game is you must take out one of the opponent’s pieces in order to enter the pathway to your corresponding “Home”. You can do this by landing on top of an opponent’s piece.  The piece that is taken out goes back to the corresponding player’s giant square box and the player has to roll another six to get it out. For example, if you roll a four and your opponent’s piece is 4 squares in front of you then that piece goes back in.  Again DJ having beginner’s luck is able to keep taking his sister’s pieces out! In fact at one point, he rolls a four and MJ2’s piece is one square ahead of him and he insists that the piece needs to be taken out as it is in his way!  MJ loses her patience at this point. This time, along with intervention there is a lot of begging and babying to get them to continue to play.

By this time the beginner’s luck for DJ has worn off and MJ2 rolls the dice where now she can take his piece out.  DJ does not accept it, claiming she can make one of her other pieces go and leave his alone; MJ2 insists she has to take his piece out to enable her to go “home”. (Rule: if you cannot take out an opponent’s piece before reaching your corresponding “Home” section and you have no other moves available, you will have to go through the entire board again).  We are all at the height of frustrations, trying to explain the rules to a 5 year old and 13 year old (over their yelling and screaming, between fits of laughter). MJ and MJ2 still argue about the rules and little DJ pitching in where he could.  Emotions running high and voices even higher to the point where nani has to interrupt her prayers and come back to intervene.

 In the end, DJ having his patience maxed out, simply messes up all the pieces on the board, claiming the win as he was the only one who had all his pieces out (while all others had only one or two or no pieces out); a full ten minutes of entertainment!

I couldn’t help but reminisce this is exactly how the games used to turn out when we used to play during our summer breaks, family sleepovers or power outages through long winter nights where everyone is an expert on the rules of the game, always bending the rules to favor their own move.  What mattered most in the end was the laughter over ice cream with chocolate sauce after refusing to speak to each other for two hours.

About the Author

Rahila Ovais is a mother to four ranging from 20 to 5 years old. She’s called Jeddah, KSA, where she was born and Karachi, Pakistan, where she was brought up, her homes before moving to Toronto twenty years ago. She is also a very opinionated person who has a hard time keeping her thoughts to herself. You can follow her on Facebook: HijabiMommy.

Winter; Lost and Found

By Aaisha Zafar Islam

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We waited and waited for Winter to announce it arrival till the end of December last year. However much we like to complain about the weather, snow, wind chill and snow storms, truth is we do miss our Canadian winters. The first snow of the season made a late entry this season, at least in the GTA, well after Boxing Day. Basically we are saying that winter went AWOL in Ontario, till El Nino sent the first storm our way. It’s predicted to be a mild winter this year. However you can catch up on your weather report on other places, today we bring you a list of things lost and found in winter.

Lost:

Winter wear

Snow gear, mitts, hats, scarves and snow pants. Are you one of those moms who has to inventory their child as soon as he returns from school? It doesn’t matter how many snow mitts I stock up on, my son will lose his things at school. Before the winter break he had managed to lose two toques, two pairs of mitts and a couple of sweaters. Trips to the school Lost and Found were not fruitful. It wasn’t winter proper till early December here, so I sent him to school with a mismatched pair, both for the right hand. I am hoping the awkwardness of it all instills in him a modicum of responsibility towards his things. When he was younger I would crochet a three way string; one attached to his winter hat, the other two to his mitts. The base of this trifecta was then sewn onto his snow jacket. I thought it was quite a fool-proof arrangement till he came home one day with a huge gaping rip in his jacket were the strings were sewn, mitts and hat missing. School yard play’s gotten rough lately!

Topping our list of things lost in the winter is accessories you buy for your child to keep him warm. Always have spares handy, even for snow pants and boots. Last year my son got off his school bus sans his snow pants, it was the dead of winter and I near but fainted at the sight of him alighting dishabille.

Daylight and cheer

Grey overcast skies, we all miss the sun come winter. And when it does come out, it is such a half-hearted attempt at being sunny you want to tell him to go back right away! A lack of sunshine means a definite loss of sunny demeanours. People who are usually chirpy tend to get easily irritable.

Sleep

Come winter all I want to do is sleep. If it were up to me I’d burrow myself deep into the blanket and not wake up till the groundhog comes out and announces an early spring. Becoming a mother has changed that. I get no off days, a full night’s sleep is a distant memory as are the thoughts of running a warm bath. So, sleep, already a distant memory goes completely AWOL, at least in the mom world.

Monies

Winter is also the time for crazy sales. We may not celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas and the likes but we certainly get into the Holiday spirit and spend away more merrily than the health of our bank accounts allow. Yes, I understand there are major deals to be scored and discounts that are too good to be missed, but stocking up at the same time instead of spacing them out through the year can make a significant dent on one’s budget. True story.

Found

Not all is lost during cold weather. One of my annual favourites is excess pounds on my person, my true friends that come a-visiting every year. When you find your inner sloth and are less likely to move and more often than not found lounging in front of the TV in your most comfortable PJ’s digging into a bowl of your favourite snack, don’t blame the scales when they creep up. There’s a reason weight loss is high on everyone’s New Year Resolutions list; new year, turning a new leaf and getting more active, we set goals for ourselves. Some we meet, some we fail at. Another thing we find in abundance at the end of the year is resolve, again the end of another year in our lives makes us take stock of what we’ve  been up to and promise to be a better (and leaner) versions of ourselves in the coming year.

 

How has your winter been so far? What have you lost and found through this season?

About the Author:

Aaisha Zafar Islam is the Executive Editor of MuslimMoms.ca, every winter she visits her childhood fantasy of being a frog and the ability to hibernate the chilly weather away. No luck thus far.

 

20 Confessions from a Mom of … FIVE!

By Khaula Mazhar

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Motherhood is not easy. It is not easy to be mom of one nor is it easy to be mom of five. There is however, a certain number of children where it becomes easier to let go and just roll with it, mainly because you have no choice and  learned that stressing isn’t going to get anything done. I put that number at three. With kid number three, you wonder why you ever worried about maintaining lego-less floors or taking a shower. Whoever is walking on the floor should watch out for himself and baby powder is essentially dry shampoo for moms who haven’t had the luxury of a shower for days on end.

I confess I am that mom, I feel  no shame admitting this. Shame went out the window with the birth of middle child, and with the birth of twin 1 and twin 2  last bits of sanity joined my sense of propriety.  Those are now long gone, and I don’t regret it one bit. If anything life becomes easier when you lose your mind, insanity does have a touch of genius to it. Besides that, for some mysterious reason crazy, shameless mom is way cooler than well organized, prim and proper, perfect mom.

My advice plus confessions to you as a “been there, done that and have survived so far mom” are as follows (BOGO in shopspeak):

1. Your first child will always be the lab rat. Stop feeling guilty about it, you are doing the best you can. What’s the worst that can happen? Never mind, don’t answer that.

2. Your second child was born to whine, it’s a default of being second. Do not be blackmailed by that whining, know that they are just as guilty as their elder sibling. Cotton dipped in olive oil make for good ear plugs if the howling gets too loud. Also keeps your ears clean, and well you know how long it’s been since you last showered, so yeah.

3. We all forget middle child. They end up being the best of the lot, so don’t sweat it. However if you drop them off at their friend’s, it would be a good idea to pick them up, preferably on the same day. Or… eventually. But hey we all need a break sometimes right?

4. I have thrown belongings out the front door when not picked up after I asked several times.

5. I still have baby powder in the house, even though no kid is under the age of eight. Baby powder can be used for unwashed hair, sweaty kids who refuse to shower, inside of smelly joggers, to sprinkle over the liquidy gunk and hairballs the cat coughed up, freshen up a kid after they throw up etc etc. Baby powder is pure magic.

6. There were some clothing items that kid 1 through 5 wore. Yes I believe in hand me downs.

7. I have fallen asleep with three small kids in my lap/arms. You should condition yourself to sleep in any situation, no mercy for the fussy sleepers.

8. I turn leftovers into “fresh” dinners. You should too, and never let anyone know you used leftovers!

9. I let the kids have cake for breakfast once. I slept in. No guilt at all, we were all happy.

10. Should such a situation arise, I will let them have cake for breakfast again.

11. If you forget to wash gym clothes, just throw them in the dryer with fabric softener sheets and hope for the best. Also works with kids’ underwear. Just don’t tell them you forgot to wash the clothes.

12. I reuse my fabric softener sheets. Several times.

13. I always have a secret stash of chocolate just for me.

14. I guard that stash like a dragon.

15. My purse contains every child’s belongings and none of my own.

16. I can quote anything from “My Little Pony.”

17. Plastic bags are a good way to catch vomit in a moving car. Always have a good supply.

18. The bathroom is the first place they look for you, try hiding in the garage instead.  It’ll buy you at least seven minutes alone.

19. Don’t go on Pinterest, those are all LIES! No one can do all that! It is just another Big Pharma tactic to make you take anti-depressants!

20. Love those little buggers, smother them with kisses and hugs, enjoy every second of this time with them, it goes too fast! Don’t regret any thing!

What confessions do you have?

About the Author

Khaula Mazhar, author of Mama Loves Me, has written for Dawn Pakistan and now bestows her wisdom upon the world at her blog. Last time she counted she had five kids, however the vast amount of laundry has given her doubts. This is a cause of constant distraction as she tries to finish writing the next NYT best-seller.

10 Ways to Know You’re a Canadian in the Winter

 By Mona Ismaeil

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1. You know what a toque is: 

Ice cap, beanie or winter hat; none of that means anything! It’s all about the toque! Fur, fleece, knit, whatever it is, we all have them (multiple of them) and cannot live without them!

2. -15 degrees is a mild winter day

Winter hasn’t truly hit until it’s -30 degrees, your eyelashes freeze the moment you step foot out of your house, your car doesn’t start. Your car not starting doesn’t even matter because even if you get it started, you won’t be able to drive it out of your garage since you’re trapped by 5ft of snow!

3. You’ve tried maple syrup on snow

Anyone else may find this to be strange but really with the amount of snow we get, we would be foolish not to make the most of it!

4. Your kids have been dared to lick a metal post 

If you grew up in Canada, you know that it may be against your better judgement but you cannot turn down a dare to stick your warm wet tongue on that cold, frosty metal post. If you haven’t grown up here, then be ready for the day your son/daughter comes to tell you all about it!

5. It takes longer to get ready 

It takes longer to put on your protective gear before stepping out for your daily battle. Two pairs of socks, long john’s, boots, sweater, scarf, toque, gloves and jacket. That’s an extra 5-7 minutes you could have slept it in back in the Fall.

6. Errands and visits are decided upon by necessity

Nonessential= NO! If your family is not eating cereal for dinner, you can go another day without groceries.

7. Your home is filled with a plethora of hot beverages

Black tea? Herbal Tea? Green Tea? White Tea? Chai Tea? Hot Chocolate? You have them all! Too hot? No problem, just stick your mug in the giant freezer everyone calls “outside” for a moment.

8. Parking lots seem to shrink 

A parking lot that once held 200 cars, now accommodates no more than 50 cars. I’ve heard of Winter Magic but seriously, this is NOT a good trick! Holiday shopping lines, waist lines, snow piles, etc. can shrink, not parking lots!

9. Gestures become confusing 

A friendly wave or a not so friendly finger gesture, these two can be super confusing with mittens and gloves on. Just pretend everyone is happy, kind and being their friendly Canadian selves!

10. You’ve experience the DIY leg snow shovel 

Too cold (let’s be honest, you’re too lazy) to shovel? Need to create a pathway to your car? Need to clear the huge snow pile behind your car so you can get out the of the driveway? All you have to do is drag your boots through the snow to create an instant pathway! Easy, breezy!

How else do you know you’re a Canadian in the winter?

About the Author: 

Mona Ismaeil is  the Associate Editor Muslimmoms.ca. She is also an elementary  teacher turned blogger and writer. Mona is the proud owner of Modern Hejab and stay-at-home mom to a sweet little girl. She loves to travel and see all the world has to offer with her family.

 

Children with Special Needs; Finding the Support You Need

By Nadia Ali

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Immigrating to a new country can be a tough experience and more so when considering the needs of children with physical and developmental delays or disabilities. There are numerous programs and sources of funding available to improve the quality of life of disabled children however it is a tough experience to find all the resources available.

The first step would be to select a family doctor and get the child registered. Provide all past records and reports to the doctor. Depending on the disability / delay your child is experiencing, your doctor will refer you to a specialist for detailed testing and diagnosis. School-aged children with learning disabilities, speech impairment, ADHD, dyslexia, etc. who have had no diagnosis earlier, are identified by teachers when they struggle academically and referred to the school speech therapist or school psychologist for diagnosis.  

Funding programs vary between provinces; each province has different programs geared towards helping parents who have one or more children with disabilities. For example; in Ontario, the provincial programs are Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities (ACSD), Special Services at Home (SSAH) and Provincial Assistive Devices Program (ADP). Application forms can be downloaded from the Ministry of Children and Youth Services website.

 

Children with delays / disabilities are also eligible to receive a monthly benefit in addition to Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB) amount that parents receive for every child. In order to quality, a medical practitioner must certify on the prescribed form: Form 2201 – Disability Tax Credit Certificate (available on the CRA website) that the child has a severe and prolonged impairment in physical or mental functions. Ask your doctor to fill the form and send the completed signed form to your tax centre. CRA will determine whether or not you are eligible to receive the disability tax credit and the Child Disability Benefit. Both, physical as well as developmental, disabilities and delays are eligible. For July 2015 to June 2016, the CDB is approximately $2,695 per year ($224.58 per month) for each child who is eligible for the disability amount. This payment will come to you with your CCTB amount as a single check.

 

The Disability Amount Tax Credit (or the ‘Disability Amount’) is a non-refundable tax credit that can be transferred to a family member, who supplies some or all of the basic necessities of life such as food, shelter and clothing to the person. This credit provides tax relief for individuals who have a severe and prolonged impairment in physical or mental functions by providing a credit against payable.  This amount is not a physical payment, like the CDB, but is a tax credit that can be used to reduce your tax / increase your refund at the time of filing taxes.

The list of medical expenses you can claim at the time of filing taxes is very long and extensive, and also includes amounts you have spent for speech therapy, physical therapy, tutoring services, talking textbooks, devices or software to help your child’s learning, etc. Please keep all receipts and submit them to your the person who will be preparing your taxes at the time of filing  to determine which ones you can claim. For financial assistance with treatment and therapy as well as costs of assistive devices, there are several agencies that help parents who may find it difficult to make ends meet. President’s Choice Children’s Charity, Jennifer Ashleigh Children charity, Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy, Easter Seals, etc. are all agencies that will provide funding for those in need to help with the cost of therapies. Proof of income and cost of therapy needs to be submitted along with application. Finally be sure to reach out to other mothers whom are in similar situations as you. There are many support groups for mothers. There are many activities and programs which can help get you out meeting new families and making new friends.

About the Author

Proud mom to a six year old boy, Nadia Ali has earlier worked with Ernst & Young as an auditor. She is now a tax professional at H&R Block and is looking forward to another busy tax season.

What Ramadan Means to Me

By Muneezah Jawad

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Growing up in the Middle East, when times were different, Ramadan to me was the revered month. All the restaurants shut down during the day and people were not allowed to eat outsides till Iftar time and then it was a gastronomic delight for all.

It was a time when neighbours sent over trays laden with yummy treats and when I saw my parents make tremendous efforts to go for Taraweeh, read the Qu’ran and in general became extra devout.  Then there were the Eid preparations, but if I travel down that memory lane, I could fill up a little book easily so I’ll just stick to Ramadan.

Children in Canada I feel have a totally different experience and it’s up to us as parents and also as a community to make sure that they appreciate and understand the importance of this blessed month. You can read more about this in my article Ramadan for Children in Canada.

So I thought the best thing to do it to ask children of all ages and walks of life ‘What does Ramadan mean to you?’

Here are the very sweet, unedited responses:

1. ‘I can’t wait to have that red drink you always make Mama! And I am going to fast like you every day!’

Mariam Age 4

2. ‘This year I am going to fast every day and you can’t stop me. I love it when we all have iftar together and you make us those potato chips and spring rolls’

Azam Age 11

3. ‘Ramadan is when the gates of hell are closed and when our Holy Quran was sent to us. People try to give as much charity and do as many good deeds as they can. We go for Taraweeh and lots of iftaars too. In the last 10 nights we also sometimes spend the night at the mosque praying special prayers.

Imaan Age 13

4. ‘It means you cannot wear shorts and you have to wake up early for fasting and prayers at suhoor. You cannot eat the whole day, if you are thirsty in school you can’t eat or drink. You eat at the end of the day at Iftar time’

Daliyah Age 9

5. ‘Ramadan means being thankful to Allah for all his blessings. We fast in Ramadan to show Him our thankfulness’

Haiqa Age 9

6. ‘Ramadan is when people fast. People are poor so we have to be like them, to be like equal’

Afrah Age 9

7.‘Ramadan means we don’t eat and when Adhan goes off then we eat ‘

Ibrahim Age 5

8.‘We fast and pray because it’s nice. We can pray in the masjid and we can’t eat. We go to Eid parties and we can play for a long time in the house.

Rahmeen Age 6

9.‘Ramadan means to fast and remember what Allah has blessed us with that others don’t have. We read more Quran, pray and go to Taraveh. We give charity and try not to do or say bad things.

AbdulNafea Age 14

10. ‘We must complete Quran at least once. We must fast, pray and go for Taraveh’

Noufel Age 11

11. ‘We fast, pray salat, read the Quran and make sure we talk to others properly.’

Rahman Age 8

12.‘Ramadan is when we get lots of samosas, fruit chaat and meet with family at iftar time. I love going to going the masjid for iftar and taraweh so she I can make new friends.’

 Aaliya Age 4

13.‘Ramadan means fun for me. It’s fun because you get to fast. I get to stay up all night and eat Sehri in the morning and then sleep late. Ramadan is also exciting because I buy toys for my baby brother and cousins and the poor people. I also help my mom in Ramadan to give treats to our neighbors and friends’

Ruqayyah Age 7

14.‘Ramadan is when you don’t eat food to learn how poor people live. We keep fast, do suhoor, have iftar feast. We should be thankful to Allah for all He has given to us because he gave us good parents and we should behave well towards others, obey our parents. We should pray and try not to miss any prayers.’

Nabiha Age 6

Judging by the responses, it’s easy to see that Ramadan is not lost to our children. Infact we deserve a round of applause for instilling in them wonderful virtues.  There is always room for improvement. I think that while the food, family and prayers are apparent perhaps what is missing is the history of Ramadan. What actually happened and why. It’s in the  details. Tell them why we eat dates, and the significance of the last 10 nights. Ask your child what Ramadan means to them. It would be interesting and cute to hear! Don’t forget to let us know what they said.

 

 About the Author

Muneezah Jawad is the Social Media Manager at MuslimMoms.ca