There comes a time when mothers start thinking about the appropriate age and technique to get their kids into fasting. Do you take it step by step, or wait until they are older to start fasting properly? Here are a few tips and tricks from real moms!
My daughter started to practice fasting at the age of eight. I motivated her by promising a reward at the end of the day such as a toy or candy. A year later at the age of 9, a group of mothers and myself had a competition for the girls to see who would fast the whole month. My advice is to find what motivates your child.
I turned the topic to a joyful challenge. I spoke to her about my experience when I was a kid and when I started fasting. Then I explained to her why we fast. What I focused on was mainly the challenge. We are both in it and we can do it together. She starts her fast at 5:30 am and ends it at 7:00 pm with us. You can’t imagine the sparkle in her eyes on the first day when she found that she could do it. She was down for couple of days, but for now she completed 9 days of fasting happily.
I wanted to prepare my 6 year old for fasting next year, so I started first with explaining how we fast. He still a little bit young so I tried to take it step by step. Now some days he fasts until ‘Asr prayer, and when he does I try to encourage him, he feels that he has done a very good accomplishment.
I began with my 8 year old son last Ramadan to start fasting until 3pm. This year before Ramadan, I started to encourage him that he is a man now and should start fasting with us the whole day. I make him his favorite food on Iftar so he would feel special for what he did. Just give him a balanced sohoor including yogurt and Banana to prevent feeling thirsty and a hug to feel appreciated!
When I started to train my daughters to fast I put rules to balance our daily routine and to match the time for Sohoor and Iftar. I divided the month into 3 parts. So the first 10 days they fast until Dohr, second 10 days they fast until ‘Asr and the last 10 days they fast until Maghrib. Although they didn’t follow the schedule, I was happy they tried their best.
I started with my daughter last year when she was 6 years old. First we talked about fasting and why Allah asks us to fast. She started to fast until ‘Asr, last year she fasted 3 days all the way until Maghrib. This year she is more excited to fast the whole day and we encourage her a lot. I mention in front of her to other people that she fasts the whole day it makes her feel proud.
Hanan El Maazawy
At 6 yrs old I start to explain what we’re doing and my we’re fasting. We started by fasting half of the day, we talked a lot again and again about the reason of fasting. At the same time I gave her a small gift every day. Next year when she became 8 she could fast the whole day. Now Hania is 9 years old and Lilly is 8 years old and thank god both are fasting the whole day, without complaining as they understand the reason of doing this.
Ramadan has always been my favorite month of the year ever since I was a little girl, and I wanted my kids to experience a happy memory of it too. We always decorate the house and we read stories from the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that revolve around Ramadan. This year, my eldest daughter turns 7, and she started to practice fasting. Every other day, she has her Sohour before she goes to school, and she does not eat anything at school, but has a little snack after she’s back and then continues fasting until Maghrib. Of course, she sneaks little sips of water in between and claims that she’s on a “break”. The applause and appreciation she finds from all the family at the end of each day makes her so proud.
Shireen Abdel Ghany
This is my 7 year old daughter’s first time to fast Ramadan. She only fasts from ‘Asr to Maghreb and I thought Ramadan was the perfect timing to introduce her to praying as well. I prepared her by talking about the importance of Ramadan and why we fast and pray. I also bought her a Ramadan planner designed for kids called ‘Far7et Ramadan’ where she can track her prayers and learn something new every day. And the thing she looks forward to the most is opening her Ramadan ‘advent’ calendar where she gets a small gift everyday if she fasts, finishes her 5 daily prayers and does a good deed.