We asked two of our Growmama writers to share with us how they train their children to fast. Here are their replies:
When the kids were preschoolers I would let them stay up for iftaar and make a yummy spread so that they understood that Ramadan and fasting was very special. Now that they are almost 6 and 8 years old they need more training. It’s hard because many of us have conditioned our kids to eat. Phrases like “Finish your plate, drink more water, eat your veggies” don’t seem like the best way to train someone to fast. So now, I’ve started retraining a little. When my 8 year old son says, “Mom I’m hungry,” I ask him to wait a little while and reflect on the children that do not have food or those who fast the days of Ramadan. Sometimes when we are on road trips I tell him to pretend we are fasting until we get to the next rest stop. I don’t give him a car snack. This year I plan to invite him to join us for suhoor. He says he wants to try half days. I will allow him inshaAllah. It’s hot this summer in the Mid West, so if he plans to play outside a lot I will give him the option of playing indoors to preserve his fast or maybe allow him sips of water. As for my 6 year old, well she will do anything her big brother does and try to do it better.
We allow them to fast with us during Shaban or anytime during the year leading up to Ramadan when they start showing interest, usually around age 6. If they are encouraged, then during the month of Ramadan we let them fast everyday until they feel they can not. Most often at 6 they make it half to three quarters of the month. By seven they can do the whole month.
Please share your tips for training children how to fast!