Introducing our children to the beauty and blessings of the holy month of Ramadan can be challenging but really rewarding. It can be difficult for children, especially those that live in a non-Islamic country, to get excited about Ramadan, in the same way that they may about Christmas and Easter.
Generally, Ramadaan festivities are confined to the insides of our homes and mosques. It is therefore really important that we captivate our children’s interest in fun and creative ways.
Here are some tips and tricks to help you:
Get the conversation started early:
Begin by introducing Ramadan to your children a good few weeks before the month actually starts. A simple Ramadan countdown calendar is great to help generate some excitement for the start of the new month. It is also nice to let your children accompany you on shopping trips so that they can see what special food items are purchased during Ramadan.
For older children, Ramadan is a good time for them to set a goal that they want to achieve over the month. Perhaps they want to learn a new du'a, volunteer at their local mosque or help out around in the house more.
Let your creative juices flow
Children learn best through activities. A Ramadan calendar is a fun way for them to mark off each day that passes and increase their enthusiasm for the upcoming celebration of Eid. Creating a calendar can be simple or as complicated as you want it to be.
You could print out a basic calendar and attach it to your fridge or make one using a large felt board. Simply create pockets by cutting out square shaped fabric cut and stick it to the board using fabric glue. Another option is to take a piece of string, stick it to your fireplace or doorway and attach thirty small envelopes with some pegs.
The best thing about a calendar is that it can be adapted, depending on age. For smaller kids, you could include a sweet or small toy for each day that passes, while older children may find a new dua or hadith in each of their pockets.
Get them involved
Encourage your children to get involved with all aspects of family and community life during this month. Ask your children to choose the Iftar menu on a specific day and include them in the food preparation. If they are small, let them invite a few friends to the house for a small Iftar party. If they are older, urge them to experience the feeling of an Ummah coming together by partaking in community Iftars or Taraweeh prayers
Share your knowledge
As well as praying and doing Ibaadah, spend a portion of your evening every night enthralling your children with fascinating stories of the different Prophets or Sahabas. Encourage them to ask questions and set them small tasks. A good activity is to get them to learn some of the different ways Ramadan and Eid are celebrated around the world.
Get into the habit of giving
Teaching your children about Sadaqaah from an early age helps them understand the importance of charity and the need to share with the needy and less fortunate. Remember, Sadaqah does not always need to be financial either. Place an empty box in a central place in your home and label it the Sadaqah box. During Ramadan, encourage your children to place donations of money, old clothes, unused toys or books in the box, that they would like to give as Sadaqah.
Younger children may also enjoy helping bake cookies or cupcakes that can then be distributed at an orphanage or soup kitchen.
The rewards of introducing Ramadan to your children far outweigh the small amount of time and effort that is required to generate the excitement and interest. We at Muslim Hands wish you and your family, all the best this Ramadan and ask Allah to bestow his mercy and favour on our beautiful Ummah.