Can you believe that we're already in our last week of Ramadan 😱 It's been truly one of the most memorable times thus far since many of us get a semblance of pre-Covid Ramadan this year! We also started a segment called Ramadan Experiences, where Muslims in Singapore and all over the world shared their experiences during this special holy month, and we hope you've been enjoying it so far! 😍 We continue on to the next part of the series, with Nadiyah and her 7-year-old son, Suhayl Nuraiman! Nadiyah shares with us her tips to make Aiman's fasting journey enjoyable!
Here are all the inspirational, heartwarming stories from our Ramadan Experiences series so far!
Fasting During Ramadan For Children: Nadiyah's Tips
1. When did Aiman start fasting?Aiman was 5 years old when he began fasting. I started by giving him breakfast at 7 am, lunch at 12noon and dinner at 6 pm. If he gets hungry in-between, I’ll offer fruits or biscuits. Fast forward to 2 years, he has made so much progress! He has been fasting for half a day every day this time around, where he will have his sahur at 5 am and then break his fast at 2 pm! I'm really proud of him 🥰
2. What difficulties did you face as you were getting him prepped for fasting?Credit: Courtesy of NadiyahGetting him to wake up at 5 am for sahur was truly tough. It's an hour earlier than his usual wake up time (6-7 am), so you can imagine the crankiness! But now that he's in Primary 1, it's much easier. He will wake up at 5 am for sahur, perform subuh prayers, do some readings (i.e. read Iqra’ or revise spelling), shower and get ready for school. Sometimes during the weekends, he tends to request a later sahur, at around 7 to 8 am, so that he will have a shorter half-day of fasting, but I won't allow him to do so, because I'm afraid he will lose the momentum. And it doesn't help that his younger brother, who's 2 years old, is not fasting yet, because he will get a little jealous and will constantly ask for food 😂
For me, I am more concerned over the kind of meals for sahur he should be having. While Aiman isn't a fussy eater, I want him to have sufficient food and water so that he can have the energy to concentrate during lessons at school and handle the heat during PE lessons. For sahur, I prepare for him nutritious meals such as cereals, bread with Nutella spread, toast with omelette and banana (for those days he have PE classes) and muffins. I always ensure he has 3 cups of plain water for every sahur meal. I also prepare for him a cup of milk or warm Milo on some days! 😌
3. How do you motivate Aiman to fast?Credit: Courtesy of NadiyahI try to explain to him what is fasting all about, and the overarching significance of Ramadan. There are many videos and resources to let him understand what fasting is all about, and he will usually spend a half-hour of his screen time watching Youtube channels such as “Omar & Hana”, which are Islamic cartoons that teach Islamic values, Quranic teachings and more! We do not use the “bribe” method where some parents will give $1 for every successful day he fasted. We implement a reward system instead. For instance, if he manages to fast half-days consecutively from Monday to Friday, he gets 2 hours of screen time to watch his favourite movie on weekend. Alternatively, he also gets to indulge in ice cream or any of his favourite snacks for the weekend.
4. Lastly, what are some tips you can suggest to parents who want to let their kids try fasting the next Ramadan?Credit: Courtesy of Nadiyah
- Set a target age for your child to start fasting. It's better for your child to start from 5 years old because it's a good time for them to get used to fasting, and gradually develop a love for it.
- Do a ‘Kids Fasting Calendar’ so you do not need to panic or worry about what to prepare for your child’s sahur/iftar meal.
- Ensure that your child is well hydrated. Do not force your child to fast when he is unwell. Health is the top priority!
- Encourage your child with a Ramadhan chart. If he manages to fast for a few hours, compliment him and tell him that he/she can try to fast 1 hour extra the next day.
- Do not compare your child with others! Some children are capable to fast for a full day, but others may not be able to do so. Remember, don't set high expectations; it's about making gradual progress for the ultimate end goal: to let them be self-motivated to fast the entire month!
- If your child is getting tired or restless, sit with him/her to do something fun such as playing card games or art & crafts.
- Rope your kids by helping you to prepare sahur/iftar, even if it's as simple as putting the cups or dates on the table! Sit with them and let them recite the du’a before eating. Let them feel the vibe of Ramadan where most families get the opportunity to gather and eat together.
- Ramadan is the month where we do extra good deeds on top of other months, so encourage them to partake in simple acts of generosity such as donating money, food and clothes to underprivileged families. If you have any extra meals, you can even get your child to send a packet to your neighbour, or even buy them drinks.
Nadiyah has shared a video about how Aiman's day of fasting, so stay tuned soon! What are your favourite Ramadan Experiences so far? Share with us! 😊