Supporting kids in Ramadan: Practical tips for parents

Supporting kids in Ramadan: Practical tips for parents

Muslim children typically aren’t expected to fast during Ramadan until they reach puberty. But kids often want to start earlier because they see everyone else abstaining from food and water from sunrise to sunset — followed by their community gathering to break their fast together — and they want to participate!


Muslim children typically aren’t expected to fast during Ramadan until they reach puberty. But kids often want to start earlier because they see everyone else abstaining from food and water from sunrise to sunset — followed by their community gathering to break their fast together — and they want to participate!

In some ways, it’s easier for kids to fast because they have endless amounts of energy. They’re also less bound to social norms, so if they are tired, they’ll lie down anywhere and sleep.

But once kids get older, they often have to juggle their religious obligations with academics, extracurricular activities and other social pressures.

In Muslim countries or many Islamic schools in Australia, schedules shift to accommodate Ramadan. But the holy month can be trickier to navigate in settings where peers and others may not understand Islam.

Kids can start by fasting for a few hours, by skipping lunch or by fasting only on the weekends. Such a strategy can help with initial “baby fasts” and gradually ease into a full fast.

Parents need to be careful with young kids who are fasting, preventing them from losing weight when they should be growing, but at the same time, kids are resilient, and they can gain a lot from participating in spiritual traditions.

Much of the health advice for adults also applies to kids. Balanced and nutritious meals — with a focus on protein, fibre, complex carbs and healthy fats — will give them more sustained energy and avoid sugar crashes. Hydration during the times they can have water is crucial.

To ensure a safe fasting for your children, please follow the below tips:

To ensure a safe fasting for your children, please follow the below tips:

  • Support your children, especially if they are fasting for the first time.
  • Encourage your children to fast gradually so that their bodies can get used to going long hours without food.
  • Encourage your children to break the fast with dates and/or water.
  • Please encourage your children to eat the Iftar meal slowly and take time to chew their food well.
  • Ensure your child’s meals include all food groups, including grains, meat, fruit and vegetables.
  • Encourage your child to drink plenty of water between Iftar and Suhoor meals (6-8 cups).
  • Prepare healthy, high-energy Suhoor meals that contain carbohydrates such as rice and bread, protein such as meat and chicken, and fibre such as fruits and vegetables. This helps to provide your child with energy during the fasting period.
  • Encourage your child to avoid eating salty, fatty, junk, and high-sugar food.
  • Encourage your child to eat more fruits and vegetables between iftar and suhoor meals.
  • Please encourage your child to drink fresh juices and other healthy drinks, such as milk, to help them stay hydrated during the fasting period.
  • Make sure that your child wakes up for a Suhoor meal. This will help them to stay focused in classes and throughout the day.
  • Involve your child in preparing Iftar meals and make their favourite meals.
  • Please do not allow your child to fast without a Suhoor meal, as it can make them weak and tired.
  • Allow your child to break the fast if they feel tired or dizzy.
  • Ensure your child sleeps at least 8 hours at night; a day nap can help them through the day.
  • Avoid heavy exercises, which may make your child thirsty and exhausted during fasting.

 

Ramadan Kareem - for Kids

 


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