Ramadhan with the Kids

Have a blessed Ramadhan!

"Ma, why do we have to fast? Who created Ramadhan? 
Does everyone do it like us? 
I saw my friends eating pizza in front of me at school when we were in New York."

My daughter Obi bombarded me with all these questions after we finished doing sholat maghrib, the fourth sholat or daily prayer Moslems do, at home.

My husband and I smiled and before we answered those questions, my son, Bo, explained to his sister that we are fasting because it is one of the pillars of Islam, the obligations for Moslems to do it, just like sholat. 

And we are fasting so that we can share the feeling to those who are less fortunate than us, having the sympathy to those who have to struggle just to have enough food in a day. 

We discussed further that night and that's one of the beauty of Ramadhan.

We spend more time with our family and we share a lot, while learning from one another at the same time.


Ramadhan is here and I'm so happy to be able to observe this blessed Holy Month at home, in Indonesia, once again.

We spent five Ramadhan in New York City and I have to say that 2018 was the last before we were heading back home to Indonesia in summer 2018, a few month after Ramadhan. 

And 2020 is super special because of the Corona virus epidemic. Most of us are confined at home and implement social as well as physical distance. Schools are closed, some offices are closed as well, and many of us #stayathome to help curbing the spread of this virus. Spending most of the time at home can be quite a big challenge as well, especially since we are so accustomed to actively engaging with our communities and social groups. But this is actually perfect for Ramadhan. At least for me and my family.

And back to the fasting rituals. Although we have done it several times in New York City and other cities like Geneva and Melbourne, it doesn't mean it get easier.
Especially for my kids.

Bo, my 14-year-old son, has started fasting since in the kindergarten when he was 6 years old. Of course it was a gradual process as Bo initially started fasting for a few hours, a half day then full day.

The same goes to Nadine, my almost-10-year-old daughter.
She has been a picky eater so she's kinda love fasting although she's easily tempted by sweet smell of cookies and bread.

As you know, we have different period of time in terms of the duration of our fasting. As we use the sun as the guidance, from Subuh (before sunrise) to Maghreb (sunset), the length of fasting varies and pretty much depend on where you are staying.

To know more about how long we fast, there are a few infographic explanation that shows the length of time in various countries. Scandinavian and European countries are usually the longest.

source: https://www.statista.com/chart/17874/ramadan-daily-fasting-hours-selected-cities/

More infographic below was from 2018, when we had our last Ramadhan in NYC. 
It showed you that fasting in Oslo will be super long (19 hours and 26 minutes), while New York City has 16 hours and Melbourne is only 11 hours and 33 minutes. And as summer days get longer, so does our fasting.  As in NYC, fasting started at 3.45 AM and broke fasting at 8.28 PM. Almost 17 hours.

ramadan 2018
picture taken from: https://www.statista.com/chart/13924/ramadan-fasting-times/
Back in 2019, fasting in New York City is  slightly shorter but still longer than the fasting time in Indonesia. And many places in the world have to endure long hours from sunrise to sunset. 

photo: https://www.thelivemirror.com/ramadan-2019-shortest-longest-fasting-time-world/

For adults, long hours of fasting should be manageable.
At least we know what to expect and we have been so accustomed to it and trained along the years.
But for kids, it's another story. 
Hunger and thirst are not the only things we need to control, as we have to work on our emotion, patience and compassion as well. 
Well, you know how cranky one can be when one is hungry, thirty, tired and sleepy!

So, how do we prepare our kids for Ramadhan?

Here are a few things we do, as parents, in order to observe the long hours of Ramadhan, , with the kids, wherever you are.

Discuss with them, tell them what Ramadhan means

Ramadhan is a blessed month and fasting is one of the main pillars in Islam.

Meaning, when the kids reach akil baligh or puberty, they are obliged to fully observe the main pillars of Islam, which consist of Syahadat, sholat or 5-time daily praying, fasting during Ramadhan, paying zakat , and hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca. 

By telling them what Ramadhan is and why it is important, we can make children understand that Ramadhan is more than just refraining yourself from eating and drinking. It goes way more than that as we share the feeling and the needs for those who are not so fortunate. It builds the compassion within them, as well as being grateful for having enough food on the table on daily basis. We can also explain about the health benefit of fasting, giving our body a break it desperately needs.

My kids learn to fast step by step.
Since they were 5 or 6 year old, they had been introduced to this exercise. We started it easily, with them only joining shaum or our early morning breakfast, then breaking the fast  in the morning. Gradually, they are strong enough to hold the hunger and thirst so that they can fully do it in a day.

Be a model

There is no way you are asking your kids to do fasting while you are freely eating and drinking in the daylights during Ramadhan. 

Show them that you are doing it as well.
Show them that you are with them, and so are millions of Moslems around the world.
Show them that fasting is a good thing and not the end of the world (kids can be a bit overreacting sometimes :)).

Find activities that they love

Fasting month can be long, strenuous and tiring. Even for adults. I usually try to make it 'easier' and more fun for the kids by asking them what they love to do during the day and it will help them focus on doing the things they love instead of feeling hungry and angry. I know most kids, just like mine, love to play video games or stuck with their gadgets. But obviously, we have more interesting activities such as reading favorite books, crafting. learning how to cook, gardening, calling or video calling friends and families and more. In addition to that, we learn more about Al-Quran and hadists as well as watching or listening to videos about Ramadhan.

Involve them in Iftar and Sahur

I always need help before and during ifthar as well as sahur, when we have our early morning breakfast. I usually ask for assistance from my kids & my hubby, so that we can provide everything together in a short period of time. I ask my kids what food and drinks they would love to have for ifthar and they will help me prepare them. The same goes with sahur, although it might be a bit tricky because we wake up at 3 AM in the morning and prepare the food, but at least by having what they love to eat and drink, they feel much better and it will help.

Make them proud

Fasting or shaum is one of the pillars in Islam. It's an obligation. Something that we have to fulfill and hold dear. No matter where you live or whatever you are doing. It is not always that easy as Ramadhan itself is a journey, but we believe that the sooner we understand the beauty of it, the more faithful we become. Appreciate their efforts, no matter how slow it is. Encourage them to try the fasting until they are comfortable with it. Remember that it is a process and it's only natural that the kids need some times to adjust with the concept and this obligation. I'm sure Allah SWT will help us all and they know what they have to do. 

So that's a little tips from #thefrakarsas for enjoying Ramadhan with the kids.
I sincerely hope this Ramadhan will bring more blessings to us all.

Don't forget to stay safe, happy, and healthy, wherever you are!


  1. Semoga sehat terus mba Indah dan keluarga, happy blessed Ramadhan ya

  2. Agak berat puasa tahun ini karena aku baru saja kena maag. AWalnya bingung kenapa kok selalu pusing dan mual. Besoknya waktu sahur minum obat maag. Eh, baik2 saja. Tapi bahagia banget setiap hari bisa buka puasa bareng keluarga

  3. It's not easier to do fasting in abroad ya sist. Proud of you for managing the family well especially the kids

  4. Masya Allah, keep spirit ya Mbak.

  5. puasa tahun ini agak berbeda ya mbak, meskipun begitu, tetep harus semangat dan tetap disyukuri masih bisa bertemu kembali dengan bula penuh berkah ini

  6. Ramadhan tahun ini memberikan banyak pembelajaran pada umat muslim. Anak-anak juga akan memahami berbagai perbedaan ritual selama Ramadhan yang agak sedikit berbeda. Tetap sehat dan semangat berpuasa bersama keluarga ya, mba.

  7. selamat berpuasa mbak Indah, walau terasa sedikit berbeda, tapi tidak mengurangi maknanya ya :)

  8. Alhamdulillah keluarga yang sakinah mawadah warahmah nih. Saat Obi bertanya, Bo udah bisa menjelaskan sebagai versi kakak.
    Bahagia Mbak Indah bersama keluarga. Semoga selalu samawa ya... Kelak hingga Obi dan Bo berkeluarga juga...

  9. Selamat menjalankan ibadah Ramadan bersama kelg tercinta, mba.. Senang membaca pengalaman mba mengenalkan kewajiban puasa ini kpd putera-puteri..apalagi saat di luar negeri, tentu tantangannya lebih besar ya mba.. Good job!

  10. selamat menjalankan ibadah puasa ya Mbak Indah, sebuah tantangan tersendiri ya mbak menjalankan ibadah puasa di luar negeri, semangat terus hihi

  11. Anak kalau picky eater emang cenderunh puasa nggak susah ya mba. Heheh. Sehat sehat ya keluarga dan happy banget bisa ramadhan bareng mba

  12. Tapi aku sudah pernah melewati puasa dibeberapa negara, bahkan selalu berfikir "enakan puasa di Indo kalau gini ya?". Tapi dari sini jadi banyak belajar menghargai waktu dan hidup.

  13. Alhamdulillah kita di sini sekira 12 jam saja ya puasanya. Gak kebayang bagaimana anak berpuasa di daerah yang lama berpuasanya 16 jam.

  14. Ahh, anak menjalani puasa tergantung mamak2nya juga , tetep happy dimanapun.Untung sekarang dah balik ya Maak.
    Semoga puasa kita semua dilancarkan sampe hari kemenangan

  15. Happy Ramadan mbak Indah and family! I am actually grateful that we don't have to fast that long in Indonesia. I couldn't imagine doing the fasting for more than 15 hours.

  16. Kebayang banget aku mbak rasanya puasa di negeri orang, temenku yang di Kanada sering cerita pengalaman berpuasa disana apalagi kalau siang lebih panjang dari malam hehe..seru juga sih ya punya pengalaman seperti itu. Selamat berpuasa mbak Indah :0

  17. Semangat ya mba dan anak-anak! Memang kalau panjang lebih menyiksa, waktu aku ke LN juga bukanya jam 7-an dan jam 3an sudah imsak :"( yaampun sedih banget sih

  18. Hampir sama, aku juga berusaha untuk melibatkan anak-anak dalam memilih menu apa yang mereka inginkan untuk sahur dan berbuka, karena selera kita orangtua belum tentu disuka sama anak-anak. Orangtua ngikut saja. Happy Ramadhan ya.

  19. Alhamdulillah, bersyukur banget kita masih berjumpa dgn bulan suci Ramadhan ya Mba
    Semoga anak2 tetap sehaattt dan ceria menjalani ibadah di bulan suci ini

  20. Ramadan yang berbeda pasti bakal memberikan momen berharga yang ga akan terlupakan. Anak2ku sudah cukup mengerti tentang berpuasa ini in sya allah dijalani dengan berbahagia dan penuh berkah mesipun di tengah pandemi corona.

  21. Aku juga awalnya kaget lho kak, ternyata jam puasa ada yg singkat sampai panjang.

  22. anak saya juga baru mulai belajar menjalani ibadah puasa tahun ini, awalnya sih mau ajarin perlahan eh ternyata dia kuat sampai magrib dan belum ada bolong sungguh diluar ekspetasi

  23. Selamat menunaikan ibadah puasa ramadhan mba Indah dn keluarga. Duh gemes banget lihat kebersamaannya apalagi aku salfok sama kucingnya hehe

  24. wah, 5 tahun puasa di New York ya mba? gak heran kalo anaknya bertanya2, "kok yang lainnya makan?" krn disana minoritas ya mba muslimnyaa..

    semoga lancar ibadah puasanya ya..

  25. Bo umurnya 14 berarti seumuran PAscal ya, tapi Bo udah mau lulus SMP aja :)
    Suka duka berpuasa di negeri yang bukan mayoritasnya memeluk agama Islam ya mbak. Obi kritisnya juga ya suka memborbardir pertanyaan

  26. Allah berikan ramadhan ini semoga bisa kita ambil hikmahnya ya mba. Bismillah Allah mudahkan ya mba dan anak-anak semoaga bisa menjalankan ini dengan baik

  27. How was your feeling Mba when you have to spend your ramadhan in other country?
    Thanks for the tips Mba, I hope I will apply it to my cousin and niece

  28. Jadi ingat pas puasa di Hongkong, awalnya kucing-kucingan ama bos ditanya kok ga makan kenapa wkwkwk akhirnya bilang terus terang. Perjuangan banget puasa di negerti orang. Sehat slealu mba Indah dan keluarga. Selamat menjalankan ibadah Ramadhan

  29. Happy Ramadan. Fasting is tough no matter what age you are, but I love the reason behind why you do it for Ramadan. It really does sound like a great way to learn compassion for the less fortunate and to feel gratefulness for the blessings that we do have.

  30. Selamat berpuasa mba Indah semoga lancar dan sehat selalu ya sekeluarga. Kalau untuk menu kadang aku tanya anak-anak juga soale Kezia ini rada pemilih banget apalagi kalau sayuran huhu.

  31. Anak-anak memang kritis ya Mbak. Peru alasan untuk melakukan segala sesuatu. Kenapa begini kenapa begitu.

  32. Semestinya kita harus banyak bersyukur dan berhenti mengeluh, karena lamanya kita berpuasa lebih singkat jika dibandingkan mereka yang ada di belahan dunia lain ya, Mbak.

  33. Tahun lalu 10 hari ngerasain ramadan di malaysia aja nunggu waktu bukanya berasa lamaa bgt, apalagi yg kayak di Inggris yg waktu buka sama sahur deketan bgt gitu ya Mba...

  34. Saat memperhatikan tabel berapa lama puasa, aku tercengang melihat berapa lama muslim yang tinggal di Murmanks harus berpuasa. OMG, kudu strong banget yaaa.. hanya punya jatah untuk makan less than 4 hours. Jadi malu nih kalau banyak mengeluh, di Indonesia kan masih biasa aja jangka waktunya.

  35. Waah...amazing.
    Kaka bisa shaum sepanjang itu di New York.
    Aku jadi berasa gak ada apa-apanya.

    Semoga anak-anak tetap istiqomah dan in syaa Allah sholih sholiha.
    Barakallahu fiikum, kak Indah dan keluarga.

  36. sehat sehat ya mbak Indah, ada beberapa negara yang waktu puasanya lebih lama dan bersyukur di Indonesia sekitar 13-14 jam

  37. anak2 punya pertanyaan2 kritis ya mbak.. two thumbs. Kalau anak2ku lihat temennya puasa trus bilang, besok aku ikut puasa ya...

  38. kalau aku tinggal di OSLO bahagia kali ya,
    ga usah repot mikirin menu macem macem, buka - sahur - dinner sekaligus jadi satu aja eeeeh besoknya udah puasa lagi

  39. That's so great that you fast as a family.

    I've been known to faint when I fast. I wonder if that's normal?

  40. Selamat berpuasa bareng anak-anak mba,, aku baru tahu kalo bo udah 14, pertama kali baca blogmu kayaknya masih kecil-kecil deh,, btw pas di NY 16 jam tuh kalo aku kayaknya masih kuat sih,, cuma ga kebayang hausnya,, kecuali di ruangan mulu,,

  41. Kayaknya emang yang agak berat buat anak2 pas belajar puasa adalah saat harus bangun sahur ya. Ya lagi2 enak tidur harus makan gitu. Tapi emang harus dilatih sih.

  42. Pasti berbeda ya rasanya berpuasa di NYC sama di Indonesia :) kalo di Indonesia mungkin saat bulan puasa gak banyak org makan secara bebas ya disini :) dan lebih berat juga ya diluar negeri.
    Pasti sulit ya membangunkan anak saat sahur, akupun gitu :D Tapi ya emang harus dilatih sih.

  43. Subhanallah, cobaan banget ya Mba buat anak2 puasa diluar negeri. Itu di Oslo 18,5 jam. Tapi insya Allah begitu balik ke Indo mereka jadi kayak dapat bonus buka 3 jam. ^_^

  44. seru ya punya pengalaman menikmati Ramadan di negara lain yang bukan mayoritas muslim. Ada tantangannya juga pastinya ya

  45. Waah panjang sekali durasi puasa di Oslo ya Mbak sampai 19 jam lebih.Sekarang lebih enak ya buat anak-anak karena waktunya lebih pendek.Tapi anak anak hebat ya bisa menyesuaikan waktu puasa pas di US dulu

  46. that's also my question when i was child, as i think why don't we share with poor people (sedekah). Luckily i read lots of book and found myself the reason XD

  47. Anak kedua kami baru berpuasa tahun ini. Dramanya banyak sekali pas sahur apalgi pas buka. Tapi tetap semangat aja dan sampai hari ini belum bolong

  48. Very interesting. Happy Ramadan. Thanks for sharing and for co-hosting #omhgww

  49. Ternyata beberapa negara ada yang panjang banget ya, bisa 19 jam juga. Jadi pengen merasakan ramadan di negara lain.

  50. Yasmin juga agak picky eater.
    Jadi berpuasa adalah hal yang menyenangkan bagi doi.
    Bahkan waktu usia anak-anak.

    Aku baru tahu kalau ada yang puasa sampai 19 jam ya, mba.

  51. Awal-awal berpuasa, saat sahur tantangan banget bagi anakku. Terpaksa ayahnya mengeluarkan semua rayuan pulau kelapa untuk membujuk si kecil mau bangun sahur. Belum lagi menu sahurnya yang pake drama. Tapi, alhamdulillah, cuma minggu pertama aja yang begitu. Seterusnya jauh lebih lancar.

  52. Keren ih Masnya udh mulai puasa usia 6 tahun, semoga terus istiqomah ya Nak. Sehat selalu.

  53. Seru ya mbak membersamai anak-anak berpuasa. Smg anak-anak sehat dan tetap semangat berpuasa.

  54. Reading this article is like throwback to my childhood. I just like your daughter too, asking why we have to fast. It's hard for me at that time you know. I like the way you éxplain and discuss to your children about the meaning of Fasting & Ramadan. Happy Ramadan

  55. Semangat terus Bo dan Obi, semoga puasanya full dan Mommy bisa kasih surprise sebagai hadiah atas puasa penuhnya.👏🏻

  56. Anak anak memang kritis ya mbak, sebelum melakukan apa apa, pasti mereka bertanya, mengapa, kenapa. Alhamdulillah, mereka mendapat jawaban yang tepat dan ada model yang bisa dijadikan contoh teladan. Alhamdulillah

    Selamat melaksanakan ibadah puasa, semoga kita semua mendapatkan rahant dan maghfirah dari Allah SwT. dan menjadi hamba Allah yang bertakwa. Aakiin

  57. Children who have watched their parents fast and feel the spirit of Ramadan are always eager to take part. tapi saya nggak ngebolehin anak puasa dulu nih, karena dia lagi masa bikin berat badannya ideal, takut ngedrop lagi

  58. Ngebayangin ya ngajarin anak-anak puasa di tengah-tengah masyarakat yang mayoritas tidak berpuasa, pasti berat banget ya. Bo dan Obi tumbuh di New York dengan segala perbedaan budaya dan agama. Alhamdulillah saat ini sudah paham ya kenapa harus berpuasa.


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