Many of our children are looking forward to the month of Ramadan because of their enthusiasm for the preparations that they see everywhere before the advent of this holy month in particular, as mosques and homes are prepared and the daily routine of the family changes regarding eating and drinking or even waking times.
We may always wonder before the advent of Ramadan how to help our children start participating in fasting in a healthy way and without them feeling tired, and our children may not even have reached the age that makes fasting obligatory for them, but even in this case it is necessary to train them in the obligation of fasting, albeit gradually. Some parents make their youngsters try to fast until noon or afternoon prayer, or even for two or three hours, no more.
In this article, we review some tips to encourage our children to join us in fasting this holy month.
Talk about the reward for fasting!
To encourage any Muslim to worship, the first material of encouragement should be what is related to the commands of God Almighty regarding this worship, and what was mentioned in the words of the Prophet, peace be upon him, urging it, and warning of the punishment for leaving it. Do not complicate the words so that your children feel fear without wanting to go through the experience of fasting, but simplify the meanings as much as possible while planting the love of the Prophet, peace be upon him, in their hearts all the time so that they feel the desire to follow him with regard to the duties and even the Sunnahs. It will be easy for your children to start practicing fasting if they grow up in a religious home that is keen to take care of this great obligation, which is one of the five pillars of Islam, so remember that your children follow your example, so be a good example with your actions before you command them with your words.
Pay attention to the nature of the nutrition they receive during the fasting days
It is very important to understand the difference between us as individuals as adults and children in the nature of the nutrition we need during the day. Do not be hard on yourself in the quantities of fluids or food that suffice you from the fast-breaking meal to the pre-dawn meal. Children need more food because they often spend more energy playing and sometimes studying. Offer small meals between Iftar and Suhoor that include high-value nutrients and fiber to compensate for the long hours of fasting that they fasted during the day. Help them distribute their needs of water and juices throughout the night so that they do not consume a large amount at once that makes them want to go to the bathroom dozens of times after dawn without benefiting from all this amount of water.
Do not impose on them what God Almighty did not impose!
If your children are not required to fast yet, do not force them to fast a whole month or even whole days without showing the desire or willingness to do so. Forcing them to do something like fasting when they won’t be held accountable for it yet might make them hate the whole idea, not to mention the possibility of them breaking their fast without your knowledge. Gradually fast for them, and start fasting during the day so that they can have the joy of breaking the fast with the whole family.
Do not associate fasting with the idea of feeling poor
God Almighty commanded us to fast for many reasons, and this is the case in all acts of worship that God commanded us to do. But it is not necessary for us to be aware of the wisdom for which God Almighty commanded us to do a certain action. When starting the journey of fasting with your children, do not associate it with simulating the feeling of the poor or those who do not have food, because this does not encourage your child as much as it raises in him many questions about the rich and the poor, especially if your financial situation is not already as large as those around you. Encourage your children to fast as it is an obligation and an order from God, nothing more.
Get them excited about Eid al-Fitr
Even for adults, we think about Eid throughout the fast in the month of Ramadan, not because we want the end of this holy month in which wages are high, but because Eid is also a great thing and fills us with feelings that none of the other days of the year can fill. Take advantage of the idea of Eid to encourage your children to fast and teach them that it is like a reward for the fasting person for his fasting and commitment throughout the month. And prepare fun plans for the day of Eid that make them feel the importance of this day, making them strive to wait for it and forget the possible hardship of fasting.
Finally, do not forget to continue daily reading of the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet with your children during the month of Ramadan, in addition to taking care of the special acts of worship in this month other than the obligatory fasting, such as the Tarawih prayer or the congregational prayer of Tahajjud in the mosque. Remember that building a faith-based environment for your children helps them to become attached to this holy month, which makes them enthusiastic about fasting without thinking too much about the hardship that may result from it or its difficulty due to leaving food and drink for longer times than usual, often in their days.