I have to admit, I was quite nervous about Ramadan a few years ago; I kept thinking, ‘how am I going to fast with three young children who constantly need my attention?’ The more I thought about it, the more I stressed myself out! But then, I decided to change things up…
The one thing that I did that made the most impact, was that I made the decision to not attend any Iftar’s- which was a first because every year I either go to the Mosque, or to a family member’s house for Iftar. The deciding factor was the timing of Iftar – 10pm. Yes, at 10 pm I would rather have the kids in bed while I peacefully open my fast, instead of having my children cry at a family member’s house due to fatigue.
I have to say it was very peaceful! Instead of rushing to get three kids ready, and driving to a relative’s house, then having small talk with family, while trying to comfort my children- just staying home and reading the Quran with my children quietly playing in the comfort of our own home was a relief!
I also decided to open my fast with a date and a simple fruit salad followed by a main course; this was much better than frying foods and preparing elaborate meals. While I did miss spending time with my relatives during Ramadan, I did enjoy taking advantage of every minute I could in devoting that time to Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta‘ala.
I’m not saying to avoid Iftar’s, but I’am saying don’t feel pressured to go to every one- especially if you have small children, and your fast opens around their bedtime. Plus, seeing my relatives during Eid was extra special because I hadn’t seen them at all for a month. Alhumdulillah, I plan to do the same for this Ramadan!
With all of that said above, here are some of my tips for having a peaceful Ramadan with young children who are too young to know what Ramadan even is:
How To Have A Peaceful Ramadan With Children
Avoid Iftars if they are during, or after your children’s bedtime. Moreover, keep your iftars simple, so you aren’t spending excessive hours in the kitchen.
Keep your children on their regular schedule: make sure they are eating their meals on time and sleeping at their regular bedtime. Although, your timetable may change during Ramadan, it is key to maintain your children’s regular schedule, as it’s difficult for children to cope with a sudden change.
Keep your children busy with activities throughout the day, and make sure they have a list of activities to choose from such as playing with puzzles, story writing and reading, arts and crafts, outside play, and imaginative play. Moreover, Ramadan is a great time to learn more about Islam, so keep your child busy by teaching them about the five pillars of Islam, the prophets, the 99 names of Allah and so on. Once the children are busy with activities, this will be your time for ibadah!
Take it easy – if possible, take a nap while your children nap- this will give you a little boost of energy to carry on with the rest of your day and leave you to be well rested for the night prayers. I’m fortunate enough to have two young children that still nap; my oldest daughter usually reads quietly in her room while the rest of get some much needed sleep.
Limit housework- during Ramadan, keep the chores to a minimum- do just enough to have a clean house and happy kids. Ramadan is not the time to do a thorough clean each day, as you want to use every minute you can for ibadah. Therefore, make sure your home is clean prior to Ramadan, so that during Ramadan you don’t have to stress over housework!
Limit your time in the sun- if you are fasting during the summer and want to take your children to the park, limit the time they spend there- after all, you don’t want to over dehydrate yourself too much! Finding indoor places for children is a great way for them to have fun and for you to sit in a cool, dry place and watch them burn their energy; some examples of indoor places include libraries and indoor playgrounds.
If you do end up going somewhere, you can still engage in ibadah by reading Quran on your phone through an app or by doing dhikr!
I hope that this posts helps anyone reading it! May Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta‘ala make Ramadan easy for all parents!