This Ramadan is different. The global coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a new social isolation lifestyle which will carry into Ramadan 2020. The disruption to our routines and those of our children is something many are still getting to grips with. So what can we do to keep our children entertained during Ramadan?
Many parents, especially mothers, are voicing their worry and concern about what they can do. How to recharge spiritually while also tending to an entire family and, for some, work commitments? In-line with what many may already be doing, our suggestion would be to make a schedule which combines personal and spiritual objectives into kids’ activities.
Here are Ten activities for children that will help you to make the most of this blessed month:
1. Decorate Your Home
This is a must every Ramadan, but especially this year given children will spend a lot more time indoors. Decorations liven-up the house and help everyone get into the Ramadan spirit. Muslim children are well aware of the decorations their peers may have in their homes during Easter and Christmas, so this gives them their own celebration they can identify with. While these are small gestures, they can make a big difference to the family. There are many online providers on Instagram or online websites which include delivery options, such as Darussalam.
2. A 30-Day Good Deeds Tracker
Having a daily goal to do a good deed inculcates many positive attributes into children. Each daily deed can focus on their own spirituality, such as learning one hadith about Ramadan, or it can be able helping others, such as sharing a plate of iftar with a neighbour. Through these daily activities, children will learn the importance of giving, empathy and compassion.
Practically you can DIY it by printing off a typed version or drawing it out on butchers’ paper. Another option is to purchase such lists from online providers, such as Eid Creations. You can then choose to hang up the tracker somewhere prominent, like on the fridge or in the lounge room. Alternatively, you can cut up the cards into small cards and allow your children to randomly draw a different card every day.
The good deeds in the tracker can also be adapted to be age appropriate for older children. It also is flexible around school terms with smaller quicker deeds reserved for the evening after school, and longer deeds reserved for non-school days, such as weekends and holidays.
3. Daily Dua Highlight
Another important life skill to teach our children is daily dua. You can create your own pocket cards and then read them to your children as a family after iftar time or another time suits you. Here is an example from Ayeina Official.
4. Reading Ramadan-Focussed Books together
Reading books together is a great way to create lasting memories and develop family bonds. Books specific to Ramadan have the added benefit of being timely, such as the four books listed by RamadanREADy and have free resources corresponding to the books.
5. Writing a Khutbah together
Encouraging children to write a Khutbah empowers them to think about the issues affecting the community and what they think we can do in response. As a parent, seeing the way they express their thoughts also gives a rare insight into their psyche, especially in terms of which topics are affecting them and how they think they can be resolved.
6. Enrolling into Virtual Halaqas
Like virtual work meetings and online distance learning options, Islamic classes are also increasingly being hosted virtually. These include one-to-one classes, such as those to help with reading the Quran, or one-to-many, such as Facebook live streaming of reminders and tarawih. Chances are your local organisations are hosting virtual halaqas so check out their websites and social media pages.
7. Physical Activity!
Being homebound makes it easy to become complacent with physical health. But physical activity really helps children burn energy and helps break up the boredom. For ideas on exercise consider this list by Big Life Journal. If you have an outdoor area, such as a backyard or balcony, doing activities there will also help children get some fresh air into their lungs.
Healthy meals can also help with mental and physical well being. Avoiding foods high in sugar, salt, processed fats and oils is key. For healthy meal ideas, check out this piece by The Fitnest.
8. Helping Prepare Iftar
Depending on the age of your children, it may be easier to prepare the iftar yourself. But involving children in the process is fun, teaches them valuable lessons and allows them to share in the reward of feeding the fasting person. Their level of involvement can range from selecting the recipe and handing you ingredients to challenging them to make an iftar meal independently from the ingredients they find in the pantry. Just remember to take age-appropriate safety precautions, such as plastic knives for younger children.
9. Host a Virtual Iftar
This Ramadan we may not get the chance to physically have iftar with family members, friends and the community. But we can use technology to bridge the physical distance. Depending on the social distancing measures in your area, you may want to drop off iftar to the homes of your child’s friends and then return home to have a virtual call to eat together. This is an effective method to bring back some resemblance to a typical Ramadan.
10. Share Eid Joy with Neighbours
Baking cookies or cupcakes on the eve of Eid is a great way to share the joy with family, friends and neighbours. You can get your children involved by involving in the baking process or just the decoration at the end. Maybe even a decoration competition within families and friends can be used to get others engaged as well.
The COVID-19 pandemic may alter Ramadan 2020 but by consciously adapting we can still have a month in which we improve spiritually and as parents. Doing any of these 10 activities will definitely also help our kids spiritually, mentally and physically during these testing times. We will get through this!
On behalf of the Crescent Wealth team, we would like to wish all readers a blessed and safe Ramadan.
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Talal currently serves as a Non-Executive Director on the Whitlam Institute and Western Sydney University Foundation Council Board. He also serves as Chairman of First Quay Capital and Chairman of the Australian Arab Dialogue. Talal has also served on the Australia Post, Board of Sydney Ports, Macquarie University and the Western Sydney Area Health Service and the Chairman of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Council of Australia Arab Relations. In an executive capacity, Talal spent 10 years at PwC as a director and strategist, and at investment firm Babcock & Brown in the Corporate Finance Group and later in the Technical Real Estate Division. Later Talal held leadership positions in Better Place Australia, Platinum Hearing and Star Transport Australia.