If you have little toddlers in the household then I am sure, like me, you too are looking for mom-hacks that can help you minimise the stress of juggling the kids and Ramadan.
How can I have more time for Ibadah? How can I involve the kids in the Ramadan spirit? Is it possible when I have two under two?
If you are asking yourself these questions then you’ve come to the right place. With four kids and presently two children under 3 years old, I have some tips that I have tested on my older children that I am applying with confidence again!
- Prepare. If you are a new mother then I must ask you to start preparing. Get yourself ready for Ramadan now because trust me, Ramadan time is like no other time of the year. Our timings change, but along with our routine our children are disturbed. They know something is different. Even if you don’t tell them about Ramadan (which is not a good thing) ,they know it is different. So start now and prepare them. Here are 11 ways to help you prepare your child for Ramadan. At the same time, prepare yourself too. Understand what your child’s needs are and try to think ways you can keep up to the demands of motherhood.
- Talk to your toddler that Ramadan is coming. One of the best ways to do this is to start by making a countdown calendar. We did this last year when I had two under three. It was fun to involve them in an activity but even more, it was fun because this calendar is hands on! (Pun not intended!) You can try this printable activity calendar or countdown calendar too.
- Plan a schedule. Next step is to adjust their schedule. This is one tip that helps all parents. All children have a schedule that they follow. It is recommended that you set your child on a schedule so you know exactly what you are doing but for some reason you don’t have one set up then now is a very good time to do it. I talk about how to set up your child’s schedule and then tweak it for Ramadan in this post.
- Meal plan. Once you have prepared them for Ramadan, the next thing to do is to plan meals. This is very important and really a sanity saver because in Ramadan when your fasting, your child may not have the same meals that you are eating. When a child is sleep deprived or hungry, that is when the tantrums and meltdowns usually happen so we need to prepare for this. You cannot be cooking all the time so for this reason, make a list of all the foods your child can have during Ramadan. Quick meals, favourite foods, easy recipes and snack ideas that you can have available that are no brainy.
- Planned crafts and quality time. Now that they know Ramadan is coming, you know when they will sleep and eat and you have ideas to feed them when they are hungry, you need entertain ideas. If you are a hands on mum like me and love motherhood, then I am sure you can’t wait to craft and do stuff with them! That’s great but… Have you decided what you will do? Planning your child’s activities for Ramadan will not only make sure that they are busy but also help you have some quality time as well as make some beautiful memories with your child. You are also helping them learn about the joy of Ramadan. There are a few things to consider while planning though, as you will need ideas for the whole month. Also, your child may get bored if you haven’t tested them before or the idea you chose is not age appropriate. For this reason, make a list now. Plan your child’s activities. You can browse around the web and pin them to a Pinterest board for later or you can collect ideas from a book to make your own plan or you can do how I do it.
- Mess free ideas to buy you time. Even if you have a activity plan for your child, you need to have a back up plan with ideas that you can use when you need them to play by themselves. I am talking about mess free activities that do not require your presence like building blocks for example. With two little toddlers and an older kid, juggling a home and fasting, I will want them to play by themselves for sometime so I can have some me time too. Having mess free ideas is a must.
- Print out printables. This isn’t the same as planning craft activities for your child because I wanted to stress the importance of having these. When I talk about printables, I am not talking about just colouring pages but busy bag kind of printables. You should be able to give these to them and have them enjoy it for sometime. Printable activities are great for your child to not just learn but play and discover too. I sometimes have them on hand for quiet time or in my car. My three year old adores them! You can check out this list of printable Ramadan activities .
- Involve the kids in your spiritual activities. When you are praying, put your child next to you or invite them to pray on their own prayer rug. When you read the Holy Quran, read to them or recite in a beautiful voice so they can learn. I have found Ramadan time to be the best for teaching them little Duas and Surahs. Even children as small as 18 months old will learn. When you read to them, read Islamic stories or stories of the prophet. We had a A-Z of Akhlaaq series last year when I taught my children about Islamic manners and morals. My youngest was 18months old and I had a three year old who enjoyed the activities and books too. You can have a theme and plan your child activities along it too. You can find more ideas for books to read here.
So far the tips above were for handling your child/children. Now, what can you do to have a healthy and blessed month yourself.
Pray with the Adhan. I don’t know about you but I have found that as soon as the time for the prayers start till the time I pray, I am always in stress. I am always afraid that I may miss the prayer or I forget if I have prayed. For this reason, I always advise moms to pray with the adhan. Your children learn by watching you so this is also a positive lesson your giving them. My children have all learnt to pray with the adhan because they see us.
Sleep on time. Ramadan for most of us means late nights unfortunately but when you have kids, be smart. You need your sleep if you want to function properly. So go to bed on time and try to aim for a small nap for yourself too.
Drink lots of water. Do you know about Ramadan fatigue? Your body aches, you’re lethargic and have no motivation..? That is because your body is not getting enough water. How many glasses of water do you drink between iftaar and suhur? So remind yourself to have more liquids.
Take some supplements. I also advise that to take multivitamins. Vitamin C and D can really help you with that fatigue and body pains. Then a little more iron or minerals for mums is always a good idea.
Don’t work so hard. When it comes to preparing for Suhur and iftaar, sadly, I have seen that inspite of having little kids, mothers cook so much food. Be smart. It is a good to make different foods for your family and to celebrate the Ramadan spirit but you don’t have to have twenty items on the table every day! You can choose to have just a few things. It is we mothers who set the bar too high for ourselves and then complain when we can’t keep up to it. There are a number of ways you can minimise your time in the kitchen:
- You don’t have too cook and freeze if it isn’t your thing, but you can prepare in advance and freeze. For example, stocking up on cut raw veggies or preparing frozen kebabs and samosas. You can cook these when you need them and they will be fresh.
- Cook iftaar and suhur at the same time so that you can get your sleep at night.
- Invest in a slow cooker/rice cooker. This is my life saver!
- Only cook one dish for iftaar and have more fresh fruits and include ‘assembled recipes’ like salads.
Involve the kids in the chores too. I am always amazed how little children love to treat chores as games. They can very easily help with cleaning and maintaining the house if you give them little responsibilities. Here is how my children help me in cleaning the house in 10 minutes. Of course, don’t expect perfection because they have their own standards! 😉
These are just some of the ideas that have worked for me. Since Ramadan is still a few days away, start your planning now. Wishing you a blessed month of Ramadan!