Tuesday 21 May 2019

Happy Muslim Mama - Fasting with Children

My oldest three aged 16, 14 and 12 have been keeping all of the fasts with us this Ramadan. Little Lady has been since the last two or three years, Little Man did last year and Gorgeous wants to try this year.  They seem to be coping well and being semi-sensible about it most of the time.

Little Lady is currently sitting her GCSE exam’s and has made the most of the Ramadan routine by studying for a while after suhoor/fajr (dawn) prayers.  Please remember her in your duas insh’Allah.

The boys insist on playing football and then spending the evening telling me how hungry they are.  It has been next to impossible to get them up for suhoor, we struggle to get them to eat and drink a little with cajoling and threats (that we won’t allow them to fast otherwise). You can imagine they make up for it at iftar.

Their fasting has brought out the mama bear in me.  I keep an eye on them and ask them every little while how they feel. I have been making the favourite foods the ask for, mostly unhealthy, reasoning that they have fasted all day and I want them to eat well.  Gorgeous had one day where he started to feel tired and headachey, so I discouraged him from fasting the next day and asked him to drink plenty of water and eat well to prepare his body if he wants to fast again.

When they were younger I would let them keep half fasts or maybe one fast over the weekend and then watch them like a hawk, encouraging them to sleep more, rest more and stay where I can see them – but much I know, but the fasts were so long and I was wary of what they could manage.

The babies, at aged four and six are too young to fast and this year as for the last few years, their school has sent home a letter saying they won’t allow children to fast because the days are too long.  I don’t have a problem with this, because the children are so young, the days so long and the school recognises the younger children would be too tired to study (not to mention managing any health risks).

Today the older three were so tired, they all came home from school and went to sleep.  Little Lady had her maths exam and was all studied out.  Little Man and Gorgeous were a little sleep deprived and the weather had been warm.  They woke before iftar looking refreshed and singing the praises of a five hour nap (is that even a nap?).  Now the older ones are all wide awake and Gorgeous is sitting on my bed reading news and telling about world affairs and endangered species.

What age did your children start fasting and how did you help them manage it? Or if you are young – how old were you and how did you find it?

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