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Ramadan can be a trying time for parents with young children. While inculcating certain habits takes time, it might be challenging for parents to help their children through fasting. Some might even wonder what the right age for kids to start fasting during Ramadan is. Nonetheless, going without food requires patience and perseverance, and when it comes to kids, everything should be handled with sensitivity. In this article, we have provided some useful tips you can use to help your child fast during Ramadan. But, before we head straight to the tips, let’s take a look at what the right age for children to start fasting for Ramadan is.
When Should a Child Begin Fasting During Ramadan?
The right age for kids to start fasting during Ramadan is when they reach adolescence. However, many believe that fasting should be taught when the child is ready for it. Either way, parents have to introduce fasting to kids and help them through the initial days. Ramadan fasting for kids also depends on the child’s health. If health is a concern, parents can take a call accordingly.
Let’s take a look at some tips that can help you get your child ready for his first Ramadan fast.
Things to Do When Getting Your Child Ready to Fast During Ramadan
Motivating a child to fast during Ramadan is not as complicated as it may appear. These suggestions can help you prepare your little one sail through the holy month calmly.
- Fun Activity List
Prepare a fun activity list your child cannot resist. You may also go a step ahead and make a schedule your child can follow. When getting a child ready for the first Ramadan fast, an activity list can keep him keep busy all day.
- Lead by Example
Children are like sponges; they absorb every little thing around them until they are able to make decisions for themselves. Parents can use this fact to encourage their kids to fast. When you practise disciplined fasting, your child will also try to pick up your habits. After all, motivating a child to fast for Ramadan begins at home.
- Assign Tasks
Getting your child involved in household chores can work in two ways. It can decrease the burden on you, and keep the child occupied for at least a few hours. These tasks don’t have to be tiring. Your child can start with setting the table for suhoor or iftar or clearing it after the meals. Involve him in all the activities important for Ramadan to inculcate the importance of fasting in him.
- Start Slow, But Be Consistent
When getting a child ready for his first Ramadan fast, it’s essential for parents to start slow. Getting kids into the habit to waking up for suhoor and fasting till iftar, will need a lot of practice and patience. Take it slow, but keep the momentum consistent for motivating your child to keep fasting during Ramadan.
- Eating Right
Fasting the holy month of Ramadan for kids must go hand-in-hand with eating right and including healthy foods during suhoor and iftar. It will ensure they have the required energy to get through the day and remain calm and focussed.
- Let the Child Decide
Children are often curious about things happening around them. When they see you fast, they might want to do it themselves. If it is your child’s first time, you may want to let him decide how many days they would like to fast initially. A self-set goal can help kids keep going. Your child might exceed his own goals and fast a few more days than what he had originally planned during Ramadan.
Part-fast is another way parents can help kids fast during Ramadan. You can choose the part of the day according to your child’s current schedule and let him fast a few hours every day before you gently introduce him to a full-day fast.
- Fasting When It Is Not Ramadan
You may also try scheduling fasting days each month way before Ramadan starts. This way, your child can get used to sustaining himself without food for hours before the month-long fasting begins.
- Educate the Child
Take some time out to share all the knowledge you have about the holy month of Ramadan with your child to help him understand why he has to fast to fully understand how to fast effectively during Ramadan.
- Reward the Child
Another way to motivate a child to fast is by rewarding him. Rewards are tempting and could range from a favourite dish for iftar, or even some extra pocket money at the end of the month. However, we’ll still say that a child must make this decision themselves. As parents, you can only tell them why you feel it is important. Also, you need to make sure that they understand that fasting has a much more rewarding spiritual purpose so that they are not only fixated on material rewards.
As much as we say parents should lead by example, there are a few things they shouldn’t do. The next section of the article will help you understand the things you should avoid as a parent.
What Parents Must Not Do
Ramadan is all about maintaining a positive environment. Parents might struggle through the fasting month if their kids are fasting for the first time. Here are the don’ts to follow to help your kid fast during Ramadan.
- Do Not Lose Your Cool
It’s very important that you do not lose your cool during the fasting month. Remember that it is your child’s first time, and it needs to be memorable. Losing your temper will not serve the purpose.
- Do Not Force Your Child to Fast
As mentioned earlier, children can be introduced to Ramadan fasting when they are ready for it, and it depends on their health conditions, too. Therefore, avoid forcing them to fast. Instead, use some of the tips provided above to introduce them to fasting during Ramadan and build their tolerance slowly and steadily.
- Do Not Compare With Others
No kind of comparison works when it comes to kids. Whether it’s about academic performance or fasting, just don’t do it! Your child has a unique set of life experiences, needs and conditioning.
- Avoid Vigorous Activities
Should your child choose to fast, high-intensity workouts, sports, etc. should be avoided. Since Ramadan happens in summer, dehydration is very likely to happen if your child continues to exert himself and sweat it out.
We hope these tips help you motivate your child for the Ramadan fast. It is never a cakewalk for first-timers; therefore, take it slow and be patient. After all, keeping the vibe calm and serene is what is required the most during Ramadan.