Showing posts with label my. Show all posts
Showing posts with label my. Show all posts

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.


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:
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. 


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!