Upbringing Your Child
Don’t we all love the festivities in the month of Ramadan? The thrill and excitement it brings in a child which is absolutely overwhelming. Especially when you see your little ones puffed up with pride on their first fast, when you try to soothe them into resisting hunger, or, when you see them struggling with the temptation to gobble the delicious iftari and how can we forget the time you finally watch their tiny faces brimming with triumph after successfully completing the long wait from dawn till dusk..
Ramadan for children is considered a golden period when parents can teach them about practicing Islam in its true spirit. It is a time when you can talk to them about the blessings and rewards that a fasting person receives and share the wonderful religious teachings in the light of the Holy Quran and Hadith. Ramadan helps children observe their daily prayers and read and understand the Quran. Children are taught about the difficult the lives of those who are less fortunate, deprived of food, clean water and the basic necessities of life, as a result they become more thankful and generous. It is a parent’s duty to make Ramadan for children a positive and learning experience, which they enjoy and from which they get a chance to realize the true obligations of good Muslims.
As we know, fasting is not obligatory for young children; a child has to reach the age of adolescence to fast. However, in Pakistan, parents usually introduce their children to fasting at a young age and with gradual and timely increments so that they get used to the practice, plus given the joint family system most children tend to follow their older siblings and cousins much before they reach adolescence or before they are told to do so. Also, in order to encourage a child’s first Ramadan fast, ‘roza khushai’ is celebrated as a very special event when s/he is praised in front of the entire family.
Ramadan for children can be made easy with constant encouragement rather than force. You can plan activities which keep children occupied so they do not get distracted from their resolve. It is important that a child is fed a proper meal during Suhoor that helps them sustain their fast till Iftar, this can include, milk, cereal, yogurt, eggs and fresh fruits. A quick egg and mayonnaise sandwich with salad leaves and flavored milk can do the trick. Also, make sure your child drinks at least two glasses of water for Saheri to stay well hydrated and feel less lethargic. During iftar you can prepare healthy fruit salads, fruit chat, chola chat and fix scrumptious green chutney sandwiches with cucumbers.
Children enjoy listening to the stories of our Prophets and anticipate special iftar party’s so they can demand their favorite food, which naturally adds in some extra motivation. It is amusing how Ramadan instills a healthy spirit of competition in children when they try to outnumber each other, as to who would fast the maximum number of days. Altogether, Ramadan for children brings all the moments of happiness which are remembered and cherished for a life time!