By: Mona Ismaeil
Ramadan is here! Alhamdulillah! The most Holy time of the year. There is something about Ramadan that ignites all of our hearts and souls. It’s a time where we feel more connected with Allah (swt), we want to be better Muslims, our connections with our loved ones become stronger and we allow ourselves to be more vulnerable and ask the All Mighty for guidance, support and blessings.
What about our children? How do they experience Ramadan? Some know Ramadan for the decorations and iftars with friends and family. Some will know Ramadan for the long hours of fasting. Some will understand what Ramadan is about and why we observe this Holy month. Children should know Ramadan for all of these.
As we know fasting the month of Ramadan is not mandatory for children until about 10-14 years of age. I do however believe it is beneficial for children to begin “practicing”. This gives them the opportunity to be more involved in Ramadan and at the same time they begin to learn how to practice restraint from food, drink, etc.
If your little ones will be trying to fast this year there are a number of ways it can be done. The idea is to have them complete a “mini” day of fasting. It should include:
- Salat and Dhikr
- Islamic studies
Here are some tips for how we go about this in our home:
- Prior to Ramadan we have discussed why we fast the month of Ramadan. We discuss the lessons behind fasting and the blessings we are rewarded with.
- Decorating is a must in our home! My children do most of it. We keep things simple but I try to add a couple new pieces each year.
- We come up with a fasting plan for the kids. Malik is 6 and Manessa is 9. They have been fasting a “mini fast” for a couple of years now. They know they will have their “suhoor” before school, then their “iftar” will be right after school. This is about 6 hours for them.
- I discuss with the children what they can say to their friends when asked why they are not eating at school.
- I send an email to the teachers to let them know that my children will be fasting. I let them know that I am sending a full lunch with each child so that if for some reason they can not continue the day, they are welcome to break their fast. I also give the teachers full permission to have them break their fast if they see they are unfocused, fatigued, or not well.
- I get the children a small Ramadan gift. This year I got them little lanterns filled with candy.
- The month is filled with stories of the prophets, Islamic lessons, salat, giving thanks, family, friends, and so many blessings.
The important thing when it comes to littles ones fasting is that we keep it positive and keep reminding them why we fast. Remind them how proud you are of them and how their struggles will not go unnoticed by you or Allah (swt).
Wishing you and your family a very blessed Ramadan!
About the Author
Mona Ismaeil is a modest fashion blogger, writer, and community organizer. Mona advocates for Muslim women and promotes their civic engagement, builds interfaith bridges, and is passionate about bringing awareness about Islamophobia to light in public forums. A trained teacher and seasoned educator, Mona lectures on a variety of subjects across the province, including Islamophobia, bullying, building acceptance, and multiculturalism. Her favorite things to do are to travel and spend time with her 2 children enjoying all Edmonton has to offer!