Getting your Kids in the Ramadan Spirit
1. Start Young
This is the most important way to get kids, even toddlers in the Ramadan spirit. If you don't start young, you can't expect kids to just know how to fast, pray or know their Deen. Expose them to Quran as soon as they are born. When you pray, lay them down in front of you. As they get older, they will be already familiar with it. I know sometimes it is tough especially for us moms to focus on our prayer if there is this super cute baby in front of you. Sometimes my husband and I would take turns so we could focus on our prayer. Honestly, after a while you just get used to it. Safa only at 18 months old will take out her small prayer rug and stand and even do the hand motions when saying Allahu Akbar. She's learned how to say Ameen and make dua. And whats one of her favorite fruits? Dates! She loves them and asks for them all the time. We didn't start in Ramadan though, we started as soon as she was able to chew them. As a child I did not like dates because I wasn't exposed to them till Ramadan so it was really unfamiliar. I wanted to change that for Safa. We didn't do anything special. We just exposed her since she was a baby!
Find as many Islamic books as you can and read to them! Again, from a very young age. Last year we got many books as gifts for Ramadan and Eid and those are her favorite ones. Especially the Golden Lanterns. She's memorized every page. My favorite part about reading this book is when Safa points to the page with a mom wearing hijab and says "Mama!" It's so heartwarming that she can find herself and her family in a book. Something, that we didn't have as children. Here are the books we have so far!
The Shapes of Eid, According to Me
Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors
It's Ramadan, Curious George!
Rashad's Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr!
3. Decorate the House
During Ramadan and Eid, decorate the house! Get them excited for Ramadan and Eid. As a child, I always loved how pretty Christmas time was because of all the beautiful decor everywhere. I'm sure we all secretly wanted a tree to decorate. I definitely see families now decorating for Ramadan and Eid. There are more companies now that have specifically decor for Ramadan and Eid. Safa is a little young to get excited for Ramadan but I still love to decorate. As she gets older I'll definitely be adding a 30 day calendar with rewards to encourage her to fasts. But we have a while for that!
Some of my favorite companies:
4. Take them to the Masjid
My parents made sure to bring me to the masjid since I can remember. Quran classes, Sunday school and Jum'ah are all a part of my childhood memories. When we moved form New York to New Jersey, the first thing I did was go to the local Masjid and find YM. It was my safe place, it's where I made my first friends in NJ and who, I still hang out with 12 years later! You want to make the masjid your childs' community. You can't take them when they "have to go" and expect them to love it. Like I said, start young!
5. Be a Role Model.
The most important tip of all. Be a role model. Kids learn all through example. No matter what you say or how many times you say it, they will follow exactly what you do. If you show your love for Ramadan and worship, your kids will too. Always remember though, they are kids. Make it light and easy for them. You want them to want to pray and fast because they love to not out of fear of being punished.
Hope these tips were helpful.