For all of us around the world, Ramadan is by no means an easy task to fulfil. Adding to the physical and spiritual struggles, mothers face a greater challenge. The holy month becomes more challenging with babies, toddlers and young kids on board. This Ramadan, I’ve already dealt with temper tantrums minutes before iftar time and a crying toddler who wakes up at sehri.
I can go on about the difficulties that mothers face during Ramadan, but it’d be more useful to share ways I tackled Ramadan with my toddler. Without further ado, here are some tips that I hope will be helpful for you Insha Allah.
1. Prepare a meal plan for iftar and sehri
Meal planning can save you tons of mental and physical pressure. With it, you'll have a better idea of what you need to buy and what you’ll eat the next day. Besides that, there’s also a relief in knowing that you have enough food in your pantry and fridge.
Try to prepare and freeze batches of food such as spring rolls and samosas before Ramadan. When the day comes, you can take them out of the freezer and fry or bake anytime! It can seem overwhelming to prepare so much food ahead of Ramadan, but it’ll be helpful during fasting days when you have limited time and energy. It’ll also come in handy when your toddlers or young kids need a snack.
P.S. For busy days, check out these quick and easy recipes if you're tied for time this Ramadan
2. Bake, don't fry
It’s healthier to eat baked goods than fried ones. When you fry, you need to be right in front of your frying pan to make sure your food doesn’t burn. It’s a waste of precious time, which can be put towards other tasks like ibadat. It’s also very difficult to clean a pan of dirty oil compared to a baking tray. Again, you save time.
Frying also needs to be done before iftar to maintain its crispy texture. And minutes before iftar, we have very little time to do a lot of things. So let the oven do the work for you. Then, you’ll save time and improve your eating habits too. Take it further with these healthy sahur recipes that you can pull together in 15 minutes or less
3. Join classes for moms in your local mosque
If you’re a stay-at-home mom (like me!), you have more time compared to working moms. So I’d recommend you to join classes in your local mosque, be it for tajweed or anything else. It’ll give you time to recite the Quran while your children are playing with other kids at the mosque. It’s a win-win for everyone!
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It’s also a great way to get out of your home, which is good for the kids and your personal wellbeing. Parenting is easier outdoors too because some kids are calmer around people. While you’re there, you can share your Ramadan experience with other community members and friends as well as learning from each other. Who knows you might meet another mom who can give tips on meal preparation, time management and more. It's part of the beautiful blessings of Ramadan that will inspire you this holy month
4. Get your partner to help out
This can be a game changer. Many of you will say your partner should be helping all the time, but this is especially important during Ramadan when we’re all in a time crunch. On the weekends, when my husband is not at work, he helps me to prepare iftar and it’s a special time to chat and get work done. And it makes the process so much more time efficient. I can take care of my toddler’s needs while he washes the dishes and prepares our table for iftar.
Credit: Mohd Fazlin Mohd Effendy Ooi
And help is not only limited to kitchen tasks. Other times, my husband will be playing with our daughter, so I can clean up and prepare for our meal. He also feeds our daughter, so I’ll have one less task to do. Small things like these can really make our fasting day run smoothly Alhamdulillah.
5. Get your little one involved in prayer
Getting your little one a prayer mat and his or her own prayer attire can help them to understand the importance of praying. Introducing your kids to the mosque
will get them inspired by the sight of everyone praying together.
Buying baby and children’s books about Ramadan, the Quran and Islam also help to understand the purpose behind it. For young kids who are attending school or preschool, you can even print out fun Ramadan activities online. I can assure you that it’ll be a fresh change from their regular activities year-round.
6. Plan a weekend family outing
This is something that my family has started doing, and it has been a wonderful experience Alhamdulillah. I know that most of us do not see any point in going out to the park or lake during Ramadan with our lack of energy. Trust me, just take a walk and you’ll feel much better. It might increase your energy level too. I know it did for me.
Credit: Mohd Fazlin Mohd Effendy Ooi
It’s great to go outdoors and play with the kids. They’ll enjoy the break, and you won’t feel like you’re forcing them to stay at home on the weekends. Exploring the outdoors doesn’t mean you can’t engage in prayer and dhikr. You can lie down on a picnic mat, rest whenever your energy is low and read the Quran or pray.
7. Join community iftars at the mosque
It’s a unique feeling to break fast with others. Besides being special and meaningful, it helps to build a strong connection that binds our Muslim ummah. Plus, it’s a great way to get that extra motivation to read the Quran or do more prayers in this holy month.
At community iftars, your kids can also interact and play with others. It’ll give you a break from your normal routine and thus, reduce your stress (e.g. in preparing iftar and looking after the kids at the same time). We need these types of breaks, especially for working women and moms. So you shouldn’t feel guilty to take part in these community iftars. If you do, mosques always accept donations for these iftars all throughout Ramadan.
Last but not least, taking care of our kids is a duty for all Muslims. It was never intended to be an easy task, and it's a test for all of us. How we raise our kids, especially in the early years, will shape how they view the world and contribute to the ummah. So if we want to be rewarded in this holy month and thereafter, we should always aim to work with our kids and show them the beauty of this month. And Insha Allah, we will all be rewarded for our patience, sympathy and kindness.
P.S. For more inspiring reads, check out the heartwarming stories about the joy and challenges of Ramadan as a mother