Fasting is not obligatory for children until they reach the age of puberty. However, catching them young is always the wise thing to do. Let them get used to the idea of fasting, including the voluntary fasting once in a while. Let’s discuss some of the ways we can inculcate the love of Ramadan in them…
1. Teach them about Ramadan.
Children love stories. Use the power of storytelling to create a beautiful picture in their minds. Tell them how the Qu’ran was revealed in the holy month. Tell them the story of Al israa’ wal mi’raaj and how the book was sent to the Prophet (peace be upon him) in piecemeal… If you’re not good at telling stories, get books that they can read or you read aloud to them. Get animated videos on YouTube and watch together.
2. Prepare for Ramadan with a lot of enthusiasm.
Show your excitement in welcoming Ramadan. Engage them in all the preparations. Take them along as you go for shopping. Sit them down and plan the iftar and sahoor meals together. Create timetables for reciting the Qu’ran, listening to lectures and reading islamic books. Gaze into the sky and teach them the du’aa for welcoming the new moon.
3. Formulate a reward system for fasting.
After letting them know that Allaah will reward the fasting muslim with a special entrance to paradise, you should also encourage them with some tangible rewards such as toys, money, snacks and a trip to their favorite places. Buy something they can see everyday and look forward to receiving on Eid day. For example, a new dress.
4. Decorate your home.
Let your home scream of Ramadan-themed decorations. Cut up cardboards, do some paintings and blow balloons. Light up colorful candles or electric lanterns. Put nasheeds and qunoot on replay. Burn incense if you like. Greet each other “Ramadan Mubãrak” everyday.
5. Throw in some fun here and there.
Allow them to play as much as possible. Get down and play with them too. Children easily get bored and hungry when they are not active. Give them reasonable screen times and age-appropriate toys. Let them play educational games and quiz them on the things they have learnt from their Qu’ran lessons.
6. Relax the chores.
Let them rest and get enough sleep. Reduce the amount of chores they do during the day so that they won’t break their fasts from tiredness. School assignments can also wait until after iftar.
7. Avoid comparing and scolding.
Resist the urge to make comparisons with your neighbours’ children. Praise them when they fast, but do not scold them when they can’t. Remember, they are still learning.
May Allaah make them the coolness of our eyes. Aameen.