Growmama Roundup: How To Train Children To Fast

We asked two of our Growmama writers to share with us how they train their children to fast. Here are their replies:

S writes:

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.

C writes:

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!

 

 

 

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  • UmmNRZ

    Right now for me what works best is first concentrating on teaching them the inner dimension of fasting – why we do it, how we do it, who we do it for and what we achieve from doing it. My 6 year old has shown interest on and off in fasting, but we have never pushed her but instead let her decide when she is ready. Technically she is still young and I am hoping by emphasising on the spiritual aspect of fasting she will eventually wrap her head around the concept and be more willing to give it a go. InshaAllah!

  • Shinoa

    love it…great advice especially for reverts trying to raise muslim children within non-muslim families.

  • Dalal

    I love these ideas, especially yours UMMNRZ, please keep sharing them :) It’s also interesting that you mention teaching them about the inner dimension of fasting first. I think that is a great approach, and it doesn’t underestimate their ability to comprehend, practice, and feel spirituality.

  • UmmNRZ

    ^Jazak Allah Khair. The reason why I feel so strongly about first educating them on the “why” before the “how” when it comes to Islam is because I personally feel this approach will make them do it more willingly – especially when they’re older – when they will have a ‘choice’ to do it or not. Living in a non-muslim society, they need to ‘know’ their religion to stand up for themselves – whether it be in school or elsewhere, and create their own identity. Also, after reading the book “Nurturing Emaan in Children” by Aisha Hamdan, I have been convinced that inshaAllah this is the way to go. Quoting from what she says on page 34-35:

    “The Prophet (pbuh) taught his companions ‘aqeedah for 13 years before introducing the practical aspects of Islam. This approach was followed to ensure firm eeman and commitment to the religion of Allah. If parents were to teach their children only correct ‘aqeedah and nothing of practice, they would have a far greater chance of entering paradise…”

    “This is due to the realisation that accurate belief in Allah and His religion is necessary for developing a relationship with Him and for cultivating within us the ability to distinguish right from wrong (conscience).”

    “The choices that a child makes will come from within, with love and fear of Allah, rather than having to be imposed externally.”

    Growing up I have come across a lot of friends whose parents would impose on them the duties of Salah, fasting etc but it was done without any foundation – without any knowledge of why they have to do it – just that they HAVE to and that’s it. (hope I’m making sense). And I saw that while on their own, they didn’t pray because mum wasn’t around to remind/reprimand them.

    Anyway I can go on… :o

  • ummossama

    JAK UMMNRZ for the mention of the book..I’m anxious to read it.


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