Tag Archives: Kids

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.

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.

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.

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.

 

Ed’s Note: Welcome Back to School

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Salam Aleykum Sisters!

After a summer break the team at Muslimmoms.ca are raring to get back to sharing their tips, tricks and experiences with you all. For the month of August we are very excited to be exploring ‘Back to School Theme! We have quite a number articles coming your way this month and we’re sure you’ll find them helpful as you prepare your little ones (and yourselves) for school.

Keeping Organized

We know that summer is not yet over, but we do want to help make that transition from summer chaos to school routine as easy and painless as possible. One great article we will have is about tips for keeping your children organized. This will be very important for making your life easier!

The long lost of art of Penmanship and its importance in our times will be talked about as well!

Keeping Educated

Choosing the right school for your child is the first step in a great education. It is important that you have the right knowledge to choose. Will you enroll your child in public school? Private school? Islamic school? Home school? Whichever you choose you should know the pros and cons of each and we are happy to help you with that.

We are excited to offer tips for how to help your child study at home. There is often a disconnect in the studying and learning that takes place in school and what continues at home. For your child to reach their full potential we need to lessen that gap.

Learning isn’t just for children. If you are a mom going back to school, we have some great advice and tips to help you on your journey as well.

Keeping Healthy

A healthy diet is vital for your child’s growth and development. We know packing a lunch every day can be tricky so we have compiled some ideas to help keep your creative juices flowing.

Being healthy means more than just food. It is emotional and mental health as well, we’ll tackle the issue of bullying at school as well.

Keeping Busy

We know that you’ll never be bored but on the off chance you have extra time, we do have some great ideas for how to keep busy while children are back in school.

 

The Muslimmoms.ca Team would like to wish all students a blessed, educational and wonderful school year!

Spring Break Do’s and Don’ts

By Mariam Mazhar 

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March break panic has set in!  Not heading to a sunny beach? Neither am I but I have set up some do’s and don’ts for March break that will not break my bank and will keep the kids busy and happy. If you cannot take days off from work; do not fret. There are many different half and full day camps available depending on your child’s needs and interests. You can choose from sports, arts and crafts, robotics or academic-based camps. But if you are a stay at home mom or you are lucky enough to take some time off here are some good suggestions or you.

Do not wake up early

Your kids have been working hard for past ten weeks (yes it’s been a while since winter holidays ended). They have been occupied with homework assignments,  their music lessons, soccer practices and what not. Let them sleep in and let them rest their tired bodies. Remember a mommy’s body also needs rest so please hide your alarm clocks.

Do not hate the cold

Spring is just around the corner. And even if it doesn’t get warmer over the March break do not hate the last bit of snow, rather enjoy it. Go snow tubing, skiing or skate boarding and end your winter with some wonderful memories. If you find it pricey go tobogganing on the nearby hills.

Do not stay indoors

Your body needs daily dose of exercise. Bundle up your kids and go for a morning walk. Look for early signs of spring, listen to the birds chirping, spot some squirrels under the bush and keep your fingers crossed for some sunshine.

Do not plan something for everyday and every moment

A healthy amount of boredom is okay!  Don’t constantly rush in to alleviate boredom. This will help motivate your child to find new ways to entertain himself.

Do not spend too much

Even if you are not travelling, having kids at home means pizza nights, trips to mall  and march break camps. If you have the luxury of staying home with kids during March break than you can cut that extra amount of spending by cooking with your kids and attending these free fun activities:

Spring Break at Indigo

Indigo|Chapters is holding FREE in-store spring activities across Canada. Daily themes include: Dr. Seuss, Lego, Klutz crafts. (Check chapters.indigo.ca for further details)

Tip: Get there 15 min before start time to get a good spot.

Sugar bush and Maple Syrup Festivals

The trees will soon be tapped and now is the time to layer up and get out seeing how maple syrup is made. Generally a low budget outing.  For more details check out our previous article on the Maple Syrup Festival.

The Home Depot Kids workshops

I don’t know if these are across Canada, so please contact your local store. The kids’ workshops are a great opportunity to build something with your kids. The activities are FREE and usually can be made within an hour.

Toys “R” Us Spring Break events

Toys “R” Us has spring break events. Check online or call before heading the store and some events might not be free or might require to purchase the material or toys.

Public Library

Public libraries will be holding free Spring break events (in Toronto they offer both English and French events). Check your local libraries. Some events might require prior registration.

Public Swim & Skate:

Some community centers offer free swimming and skating (or for a toonie) during March break.

Tip: Go 15 minutes ahead of time to avoid disappointments

Visit your local mall

Another great spot to find free activities is your local mall. Check your local paper or mall websites for daily events including crafts, stage shows, science fun, concerts and more.

Tip: leave your credit cards at home to avoid extra spending

Plan your summer garden

Visit your local nursery or hardware store to buy seeds and required tools. Whether the garden is a large plot in the backyard or a few planting pots off the back deck, give each child an area of responsibility/opportunity. Allow them to plan what they will plant for the growing season.

Movies for cheap

Some cinemas show classics and old children’s movies for toonies. Check cinemas in your city and the screenings available.

Whatever you choose to plan for your kids, make it fun and memorable. After all that’s all that matters.

About the author:

Mariam Mazhar is a teacher by profession, with a passion for kids, cakes and creative writing.