How to Get Your Children to Love Ramadan and Eid
When it comes to holidays like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Halloween, the stores start their preparations months in advance. People shop and look forward to the holiday as the tunes of the season play in every public place imaginable. Many children, unfortunately, do not grow up surrounded by the same festive energy when it comes to Ramadan and Eid. This is why we as parents and caregivers need to make sure that we create the best atmosphere with our children during our celebrations.
Here are 7 tips to help you make Ramadan and Eid fun and memorable for your children:
1. Get your children excited a few weeks before.
Having something to look forward to is a key component of happiness. We get through tough weeks looking forward to the weekend. Kids get through the last of the school months looking forward to summer vacation. When it comes to Ramadan and Eid, hype it up for your kids. Remind them of all the amazing things they will get to do and experience in the month and plan to follow through with these amazing things!
Why not have your kids make a Ramadan plan too? This can include good deeds that they want to do, meals they want to make, and stories they want to hear perhaps from the Qur’an, Ramadan stories from around the world, and so on.
There are lots of Ramadan coloring and activity kits that can also be purchased for your child or for them to give as a gift to their friends. It is also a fun activity to make a Ramadan countdown calendar with the kids. This can be done scrapbooking style or digitally using an app. The possibilities are endless! There are also programs out there for Ramadan prep for kids. They might be local to you or they might be online. There is a phenomenal program out there called Ramadan Moon that is based in Pakistan organized by Hiba Masood. It is a family entertainment and spiritual enrichment program that is specifically designed for children.
2. Ramadan Gifts
Adults and children alike get excited about gifts, especially Ramadan gifts! Sit down with your child and look for fun things that they think would be good gift items for their friends and family. Incorporate teaching them about the Prophet (SAW)’s generosity in this activity and remind them about what he (SAW) taught us about giving gifts: “Tahaadu tahaabu” which translates to "Give gifts. You will love each other."
The Prophet (SAW) was also known to be the most generous in Ramadan. Bring this energy into your household by giving generously to your friends and family. Maybe you can even make Ramadan baskets for your non-Muslim neighbors as a form of da’wah, including information about Ramadan and some Ramadan goodies! Ramadan goody bags can also be sent to your children’s friends. They can contain different types of dates (and children can do research on these dates and include a fun fact about each type in the goody bag), candies, party favors and good deed idea notes, and a kind message to the recipient. It can also have little kid-friendly tasbih/masbahas, and Ramadan-themed stickers.
3. Maximise Joy
Maximise the joy of this blessed month by creating a Ramadan atmosphere within your home. Nasheeds, Ramadan cookies (there are so many variations of these that you can make with your children throughout the month!), Qur’an recitation, TV on with the tawaf in the Haram, setting up a prayer area with mood lighting and kid-friendly prayer mats are things we can do to create a Ramadan mood in the home. While reading Qur’an and increasing ibadah is important, we need to be careful not to be killjoys in Ramadan. We should strive to help our children remember Ramadan as a time of cheer and coming closer to Allah SWT through quality worship, not as a time of stress, chaos, and overload of do’s and don’ts.
This seems similar to the first, but it is more specific. It includes the ideas, planning, and execution of Ramadan décor. Sometimes we want our homes to look picture perfect for Ramadan, regardless of whether we have guests or not. We might be going for a certain vibe we saw on Instagram or Pinterest. Children, however, do not always operate this way. They have creative minds and they like to experiment, and they like to do things in abstract ways. It is important to allow kids to use their funky décor in the home, or at least in their rooms so that they can really make Ramadan theirs.
You can buy lights on Amazon as well as Ramadan and Eid banners on Etsy shops. Or better yet, DIY it. Pinterest is full of ideas on how to create your own stunning DIY Ramadan and Eid banners. Paper lanterns, cut-out moons, and stars are all crafts that kids will enjoy doing, Insha’Allah.
5. Ramadan Good Deeds Jar
Decorations are important, but it is just as important to instill the spirit of Ramadan in children, which is to come closer to Allah SWT through being conscious of Allah SWT and serving others.
There are many different ways to do this. You can have a Ramadan calendar (similar to an advent calendar) that your children decorate in their unique ways. Each day can contain a good deed for the day. Or you can have little “good deed of the day” notes on origami paper tightly closed and placed in a decorated mason jar. After each good deed is completed, there can be a reward like a sticker or a piece of candy. Or they can earn points for good deeds which can go towards a big prize at the end of the month.
6. Let them Choose Suhur or Iftar items
Food is a huge part of Ramadan. Allah says in the Qur’an: “O mankind! Eat of that which is lawful and pure (halal and tayyib) on the earth…” (2:168)
Children naturally get excited at the thought of good food and fun desserts. Let them use their creativity and autonomy in choosing what to eat for suhur and iftar. Children are happier when they’re allowed to make choices. Give them a choice of one food item every. Allow them to indulge a little, after all, it's Ramadan!
7. Do something fun for Eid (make it like Yes Day)
There is a movie on Netflix called “Yes Day.” The concept is that one day out of the year, parents say “Yes” to whatever their children ask for, within reasonable limits like safety, budget, and distance.
The kids “earn” this day of fun by doing chores, completing homework, etc. and they are rewarded with a whole day of fun. We can take this concept and tweak it as we wish to suit our Ramadan and Eid schedules.
Emphasis should be placed on the idea that Allah SWT wants them to have fun, that Allah SWT wants them to enjoy themselves and be grateful to Him for His blessings. This way, children will learn to associate Eid as a gift from Allah SWT. Remember, Eid Day should be “Fun Day.”
Al-Hassan as-Sibt says: “The Messenger of Allah (saw) ordered us to wear the best clothes we could find for the two Eids and to apply the best perfume we could find and to sacrifice the best animal we could find.” [Hakim].
There are so many ideas to make the lead-up to Eid fun, as well as the day itself:
- Make Eid moon sighting a special event. Set up a family or community viewing party (socially distanced of course!) with snacks, nasheeds, and henna!
- Special Clothes: Get kids excited about Ramadan with their new clothes, all ironed and ready to go for the next day for Eid salah!
- Eid Prayer: Associate something fun with Eid prayer, like going for ice cream straight after or going to their favorite place or to see their favorite person, i.e. “we will visit grandma with gifts after Eid prayer!” Make a friendly competition of who could say the most takbeerat on the way to Eid salah! After the salah, you can choose to take your children on a family breakfast/brunch.
- Eid picnic: one of the best ways to get together in a pandemic is to meet outdoors! Take food and desserts prepared at home and go to your family’s favorite park in the city to have fun, play games, and just spend time with each other!
- Scavenger hunt: whether you decide to stay at home or have an Eid picnic, a scavenger hunt is a perfect way to keep children excited and busy! If well-planned, this activity can be incredibly fun for kids!
- Eid cake: Most South Asians make sheer khorma (vermicelli with milk, nuts and saffron) on Eid. It is unique and special to Eid. Have a designated Eid dessert for your family. Make an Eid cake (a special cake that your family loves that you only make on Eid) or another Eid pastry or dessert. It can be traditional or contemporary, but it just has to be one thing: FUN!
- No Eid is complete without gifts! Get your family and friends to go a massive Eid Gift Exchange! Go crazy with making these gifts look elaborate and make it a memorable time for your family! When gifts are involved, your children will always associate Eid with happiness, Insha'Allah!
Aisha reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “If Allah Almighty intends good for a household, he lets gentleness enter their home.” (Musnad Aḥmad)
May Allah SWT place the love and joy of Ramadan and Eid into our hearts and our children’s hearts. May we always strive to please Allah SWT while eating, drinking, having fun, and enjoying His blessings. May Allah SWT place gentleness in our hearts towards each other. May Allah SWT bring our hearts together with fun and love this Ramadan and Eid. Ameen!