A year has gone by swiftly, and we are now in the holy and blessed month of Ramadan. Every year, Ramadan is highly anticipated by the Muslim community as it is a special month of mercy and purification.
As a mother of three young children, I try my best to take the opportunity to embody the spirit of the holy month and nurture it in my children. Among the important values include patience, the spirit of giving and self-discipline. It helps them understand the significance of fasting and other supplementary prayers that we usually do during this beautiful month.
Ramadan is also the perfect time to strengthen family ties. There are a lot of things we can do as a family unit to welcome Ramadan. Here are a few exciting and fun things to do with your family before and during Ramadan:
1. Have a conversation about Ramadan
A few weeks before Ramadan (or at the start of the season), start having conversations to recall the past year, and how the experience was for them. This is helpful for young children who are learning to fast. My eldest daughter loves to share her experience with her brother about the meals Mummy makes for berbuka puasa, her sahur experience and what fasting feels like. Siblings learn from each other a lot, so it’s the perfect way to get the younger siblings excited for Ramadan.
We also talk about Ramadan through books and reading together. There are a lot of Ramadan themed books in the market that we can use as a tool for conversation. My kid’s favourite books are My Ramadan Story and 10 Things I love about Ramadan.
2. Preparing a Ramadan corner or prayer area
Find a space in the home that can be turned into a special area for Ramadan. It does not have to be extravagant, but what’s important is we talk about why we are preparing the space. Having a Ramadan corner or prayer area gives a welcoming feeling and a sense of anticipation. Turn it into a cosy corner that fits everyone in the family to do prayers, recite the Quran or even read a book together.
Involve the children in the decorations, too. I usually put up a banner, or ask my children to make simple decorations for the space, while my husband and I prepare the Quran corner, prayer corner and even some nice fragrance for the ambience. This helps children ease into Ramadan and make them excited about the experience. Doing this as a family also allows everyone to create memories to make this a beloved annual family ritual.
3. Send gifts and wishes to friends and family
Ramadan is a month of giving, therefore sending gifts and well-wishes to families and friends are some of the best things to do as a family. Get the kids involved in making the list of people that you want to send a gift to, and ask them to give some ideas. For inspiration, have a read of our compilation of unique Ramadan gifts for your loved ones this year!
Don’t forget as well to talk to your kids about the values that we are trying to embody, which is the spirit of giving and making a person happy. This is a lifelong lesson that children can learn. How about a pack of dates and nuts, a new Quran, a new prayer garment or even a fruit or flower bouquet? As the saying goes: it’s the thought that matters!
4. Plan a sedekah project
Giving sedekah or charity to people in need is also one of the biggest values of Ramadan. Increasing sedekah in Ramadan is desirable, and can be done in many ways. Get together as a family and plan out what and who to send the sedekah to. Announcing it as a sedekah project makes it sound more exciting, making the children eager to get involved.
Sedekah can be simple and meaningful. Some prefer to prepare food for the people to break fast at the surau or masjid, and others prefer to do online cash donations to different beneficiaries every week. Sharing meals with the neighbours is also a form of sedekah. Put all these in action items for your family sedekah project. A little planning goes a long way!
5. Pray Taraweeh & learn together at home
One of the main ibadah done in Ramadan are the Taraweeh prayers. In the years before the pandemic, praying Taraweeh in the local surau or masjid as a family is one of the things everyone looks forward to. However, if Covid-19 still worries you, Taraweeh can always be done at home as a family.
Daddy can take the lead to be the imam, while Mummy makes sure that everyone takes their right places. Prepare the children’s prayer garments in the Ramadan corner – even the little ones, who would probably end up playing at the back. These are all beautiful memories of Ramadan to be created with the family.
Besides Taraweeh, consider signing up for Ramadan classes to immerse the family into the spirit of learning in Ramadan. Thanks to technology, there are plenty of options for Ramadan Zoom classes, such as Soul Digest’s special Ramadan programmes (Fast & Furious for tweens and youths) and structured courses for the younger set, or Ahlan Academy’s online Storysack series, The Four Caliphs, where kids can learn about the four greatest companions of Prophet Muhammad PBUH.
6. Meal planning
Sometimes thinking of what to eat can consume a lot of energy and time, so why not gather the family and do a meal plan together? This way, everyone gets to give ideas and plan their favourite meals. This also helps to save costs in terms of groceries, and saves energy for food preparation. Everyone can then have more time to dedicate to prayer and activities related to Ramadan.
Need some meal ideas? Check out our list of quick and healthy sahur meals that you can put into your meal plan!
To our #makchicmumtribe who are celebrating this holy season, have a blessed Ramadan!