How to Train Your Children in Ramadan
Ramadan can be hectic as it is, let alone Ramadan with kids, especially during the coronavirus quarantine. It’s not easy to be fasting all day and to also teach your children the virtues of Ramadan. How can we teach them the importance of this month without making it boring for them? Here 5 different way you can train your children this Ramadan:
1. Teach by Example:
Anas ibn Malik reported: “I served the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, for ten years. By Allah, he never even said to me, ‘Uff!’ He never said harshly for anything, ‘Why did you do that? or, ‘Why did you not do that?’” [Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī]
Sometimes we forget that children are not just little adults running around. They are little children with underdeveloped brains and poor self-control. It is not only ineffective to constantly tell kids what to do and what not to do, but it is also against the sunnah.
No one likes to be micromanaged, and that includes kids as well. Whatever behaviour we would like to see from our children, we should do implement first. If we want respectful kids; we should respect all those around us. If we want to teach kids kindness and compassion towards others; then we should show them compassion too.
As the saying goes: when a child seems the least deserving of love is when he or she needs it the most.
2. Create a Fun Home Environment:
Aisha (radiAllahu anha) reported: She was with the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, while on a journey. Aisha said, “I raced him on foot and I outran him, but when I gained some weight, I raced him again and he outran me. The Prophet (SAW) said: ‘This is for that race.’” [Sunan Abī Dāwūd]
The Prophet (SAW) had fun with his family members. By having fun with your spouse and kids, you are getting the reward for following the sunnah. How’s that for an easy reward? Children are naturally bored at home because of the quarantine. Take that as an opportunity to do something fun within your home.
Depending on the age of your child, give them the task of looking up some yummy iftar and suhoor recipes. They will be thrilled to know that you are cooking what they discovered and recommended!
You may not get another chance to spend an entire Ramadan at home, so make use of it when whilst you can. Eat suhoor and pray Fajr together. Your child can even give the adhan. Have iftar together or even get the kids to help in making dessert!
During the day, whether the children are fasting the full-day or half-day, they can play in the garden, read books, watch Islamic cartoons, play with Lego, build a fort out of pillows and blankets, or do puzzles. If you join them in these fun activities, it will forever be a memorable Ramadan for them. You can even do fun Ramadan DIY décor. Just look to Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration and get creative!
3. Read Ramadan Books for children:
There are many amazing children’s books out there about Ramadan, fasting, and the overall importance of this month. Most children love a good story and snuggling up with your kids after iftar or after taraweeh prayer is the best way to get them to enjoy Ramadan stories from around the world. For a list of the Top 10 Ramadan books for children click here.
4. Do 30 good deeds in 30 Days:
“Verily, Allah has recorded good and bad deeds and He made them clear. Whoever intends to perform a good deed but does not do it, then Allah will record it as a complete good deed. If he intends to do it and does so, then Allah the Exalted will record it as ten good deeds up to seven hundred times as much or even more. If he intends to do a bad deed and does not do it, then Allah will record for him one complete good deed. If he does it then Allah will record for him a single bad deed.” [Sahih Bukhari]
Children love counting and imagining their good deeds piling up. This is a great hadith to share with children even as young as five. Once they understand how generous Allah SWT is and that He multiplies every deed that they do, they will rush to do more good deeds!
One of the best ways to do this is to create a good deeds jar. You and your children can get coloured paper and write down 30 good deeds for 30 days. Another way to do it is to create an advent type calendar and get all creative!
One good deed that we should especially encourage from a young age is giving in charity, especially in these times since we are in the middle of a global catastrophe. Teach your children this hadith:
The Prophet, upon him be peace, said: “Give charity without delay, for it stands in the way of calamity.” (Al-Tirmidhi)
We have two major reasons to give more in Ramadan: one is because the Prophet (SAW) was the most generous in Ramadan as we know from his life, and the other is to protect ourselves from calamity. By encouraging our children to give, we will be instilling a life-long habit of generosity in them, which is a quality loved by Allah (SWT).
5. Make Things Easy:
We should realise that although Ramadan is a time for increased ibadah, children are exempt from accountability until they reach puberty. So, we should take it easy on the expectations and make sure that this is a time when our children learn to love Ramadan, not to dread it.
The good deeds that children do count in Islam, while their bad deeds don’t count until they are of age. So, it is best to encourage your child to do extra good deeds, but if they cannot do it, no worries. Tell them it’s okay. When children feel inadequate, they can feel anxious and sad. We should tell them that the effort is what counts and that Allah is Ash-Shakur and He appreciates even the tiniest things that they do.
Anas ibn Malik reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Make things easy and do not make things difficult. Give glad tidings and do not frighten them away.” [Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, Saḥīḥ Muslim]
May Allah allow us all to have a peaceful and joyful Ramadan with our families and May He keep our children guided and thriving in the storms of Dunya. Ameen!