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Get your children excited for Ramadan
June 30, 2014, 10:53 am

Ramadan is a special time for adults to recharge their faith.  Muslims wait for it annually to try to improve on their spirituality; but what about children? With a few good ideas, parents can make their children feel the joy of this blessed month. It is important to instill the love of Ramadan in children from an early age, so here are some tips to help plant the seed of love for Ramadan!

Decorate your house: Children will feel the importance of this month if you involve them in preparing your home for Ramadan. Decorate your house by putting up Ramadan banners, lanterns, and window clings, which are now more readily available in stores.  You can also make your own using a craft book. Add lights and maybe a special candle or scent such as musk or orange blossom that will instill good emotions and will leave a good mark on them well into their adult lives. These good emotions will intensify as they get older and will make them anticipate the holy month every year.

A countdown banner:  Create a countdown banner with paper hoops, and have children take out one hoop every day after iftar to give them a sense of anticipation for Eid, which could be one of the best and brightest day of their lives. Gift wrap the special gifts you have bought for them, and keep them in a visible corner of your living room for kids to look forward to opening on Eid. This tip works well for older elementary and middle school kids, but not toddlers who will get impatient after a few minutes staring at the gifts. If you have younger children, have them write on the eve of Ramadan. a list of what they would like for Eid. If they cannot decide, you can help them with the list.

Rewards: Give money or healthy candies as rewards for fasting when they are of age to fast without physical harm. This idea helps bring the family closer together, and also enables you to celebrate with friends.  You can compete with cousins and friends as to who would accumulate the most prizes during Ramadan. You may coordinate with other Muslim families you know who want to be part of fun actitivites that make fasting exciting. Make sure you all agree on the same sum to make the competition fair.

Cuisine: Make special food items that are specific to Ramadan, and select dishes that are nutritious and healthy.  The best choices for Ramadan are usually lentil soup, fried bourek and fruit salad.

Make iftar a family and friends event:  The more the merrier!! Kids love the feeling of big gatherings with other children. Guests could also be friends from public school, neighbors who have kids, anyone who they cherish and will contribute to spirit of Ramadan in your house.

Moral lessons:  Ramadan should be fun for kids but they should also receive moral lessons out of all the activities they participate in for this month. Children are more philosophical then we give them credit for. It would be better for their upbringing if all the stories they read or hear always had lessons to learn, so why not use this month to make resolutions? Let them take a critical look at themselves and pinpoint characteristics that they would like to improve such as being nicer to their siblings, being more respectful to adults, be more generous, not talk back to their parents etc.  Visit the bookstore or online to find stories that will help your child's spiritual growth during Ramadan. 


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