Tips on how to make the blessed month special for your children
The month of Ramadan is an exciting time for adults, as we eagerly try to make the most of this month. However, it is important to make sure our children also feel involved, so that their love for Ramadan is strong from a young age.
Fasting is not compulsory on a child until they reach the age of puberty, however many families find that their younger children are also determined to fast. This is great and shouldn’t be discouraged, as it allows the child to feel a part of this blessed month.
Therefore, as parents we must also be aware of our children’s health and capabilities and ensure that they do not push themselves too far.
If your young child is eager to fast then it’s a good idea to start them off with ‘practice fasts’ or ‘half fasts’.
Allow them to wake for Suhoor with you and partake in the excitement of it. Use this time to show them the types of healthy foods to eat that will help them last through the day.
Recite the Dua for closing the fast together and let them join you for Fajr salah.
You can then decide on a time that they will open their fast, which can of course be shortened if need be.
Alternatively, your child could start their fast later, possibly after lunch, and then open their fast with you at Iftar time.
Teach them the Dua to open their fast, and follow the Sunnah of eating a date and drinking some water first. Pray Maghrib together and enjoy the meal as a family.
Whichever way you decide, the important thing is to praise your child’s efforts throughout the day and remind them that Allah will be pleased with them.
A small gift on completion of their first practice fast could also help motivate them, or maybe a special treat such as ice cream.
These practice fasts and experiences will prepare your child for when they are older and ready to complete a full fast Insha’Allah.
When the time comes for them to complete their first full fast, it is essential that they wake up for Suhoor and eat a healthy meal and that they drink water to keep them hydrated.
Help to guide them through the day by performing acts of Ibadah together, such as praying Salah and reading Quran.
Remember to keep encouraging them and praising their efforts.
Plan a few activities to do throughout the day. Ramadan art and craft activities will keep them busy, entertained and also build their love for the Holy month.
You could make Ramadan lanterns to decorate the home or cards to give to family members. Decide on the Iftar meal together as a family and let your child help you with the preparations.
Some families like to throw a party for their child when they complete their first fast, however this doesn’t have to be an extravagant event. You could prepare an Iftar party for just your own family in your home, with a few balloons and a gift to reward your child for their huge accomplishment.
Whatever you decide to do, the main thing is to make your child feel a sense of achievement. They should see how proud you are of them and understand that they have completed a great act of Ibadah, and thus have pleased their Creator. Remind them that Allah’s reward is so much greater than anything you have given them and that Allah loves them for what they have achieved.
It’s important to remember that all children are different and some may find fasting more difficult than others. If your child is struggling, don’t be harsh on them or tell them off. We want to fill their hearts with a love for Ramadan and a desire to please Allah. If we turn fasting into a negative experience it will only demotivate them.
Be kind, encouraging and supportive.
May Allah keep our children on the straight path and bless them with righteousness, Ameen.