When Ramadan started this year preparing for a month-long fast seemed daunting with kids. However, involving the kids in spiritual and physical growth turned out to be a rewarding family experience. Here are five things we did together to have a memorable Ramadan with kids.
1. We Involved the Children Early
I began preparing for Ramadan at least a month before by purchasing groceries and pre-packing food for meals. The kids helped with making shopping lists and making smaller snacks to freeze, such as somosas.
2. We Started a Ramadan Journal with the Kids
Setting goals, reflecting and making plans is a big part of getting through Ramadan like a pro. While fasting is physical, it is important for kids to “see” the spiritual benefits of participating.
3. Swapped Everyday Activities to a Ramadan Theme
In order to make it a memorable Ramadan with kids, we listened to the Quran on the TV prior to iftar time. The kids also watched Ramadan/Islam themed videos throughout the month instead of their regular cartoons. Some of my favorites are the Inspiration Series on YouTube, Zaky and Friends cartoons such as Prophet Stories and the Qalam Institute Podcasts “Ramadan Reflections.”
4. We Provided Iftar to Neighbors
One easy way to amplify the celebration of Ramadan with kids is to share the foods of Ramadan. We picked one day to make iftar for our Non-Muslim neighbors. I added a little handout that included a menu with a list of ingredients and resources to learn more about Islam if they were interested. The kids helped prepare and pass out the food.
5. I Encouraged The Children to Fast
Children are not required to fast until they hit puberty, but they may show an interest to fast at a much younger age. I encouraged my children to fast half days (fasting from breakfast until lunch or dinner time). If they wanted to fast during school hours, I wrote a note to their teacher(s) to explain that my child(ren) will participate in the Ramadan fasting. It’s great to provide a list of tools or tips to help the teacher empower your child(ren). Here is a sample letter by Sound Vision. MuslimMatters.org also provides this age-appropriate guide for fasting students.
As Eid approaches and I reflect on this Ramadan with kids, I feel extremely satisfied with how much we got out of the month. How was your Ramadan this year?