By Sahrish Ali and Sohila El Saadany
Encourage children to immerse themselves in the Ramadan spirit.
To start off, you as a parent must teach children about Ramadan so they grasp the concept behind it. It is not only about abstaining from food and drink; it is specially for cherishing the blessings bestowed upon them.
Celebrate the spirit by asking them to help decorate the house. You can reuse old magazines or papers to make paper lanterns and hanging garlands. Place different Ramadan facts illustrated creatively all around your house.
They can begin by fasting for only a few hours. By the middle or end of the month they would have enough willpower to fast the entire day.
Help your kids craft a Ramadan calendar where they write down one good deed they did for each day. They could also write down the number of hours they fasted everyday. A large wall calendar made with construction paper and glue would give them a more tangible feel of the month.
Reading the Qur’an
Read the Qur’an with them. Help them recite short verses. You can give them rewards for that.
Make Ramadan bookmarks and have them understand one verse of the Qur’an per day; its lesson or story related to it.
Children should be kind all year round. However, explain to them that their extra kindness would beget even more rewards during this special month. Help them understand the importance of donating; they can give away clothes and toys to those in need.
Make goodie bags and meal packages together with your kids. Further involve them by going to local mosques and places where you can distribute food.
Mats and Beads
Let them pick their own prayer mats and beads. They choose their own colors and styles. These will give them the sense of being responsible adults as they can call them their own.
Let them make their own prayer beads by giving them string and beads of their choice.
They must also learn how to control their temper, so no temper tantrums are allowed. This is a lifetime lesson, not just a one-month thing.
Keep calm, it’s Ramadan. Have your child identify 114 things they’re thankful for to Allah. The number correlates with the number of chapters in the Qur’an. This would help them see the little things that make life joyful.
Good Deed Tree
Why not build a good deed tree? Each time they do something considerate, they get to write it on the leaves. At the end of the month they will notice how lush the leaves are. They will definitely be proud of that.
It’s a cardboard tree with cardboard branches and green paper leaves. You can even use old papers or newspapers to make the leaves to encourage reusing.
Iftar and Suhoor
Engage your children in preparing iftar and suhoor. Ask them what would they like to have and then allow them to help you around the kitchen.
Help them call relatives to check up on them and wish them a blessed Ramadan. This will teach them how important family ties are from a young age.
Handmade phone books with relatives’ numbers and a schedule of when to call each would motivate them to get in touch.