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My Child and Fasting

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My Child and Fasting

Post by Ithar Ghada Faied on Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:41 pm


Dear parent, you should be aware of the fact that Ramadan is a good chance to train your child to observe fasting which teaches him patience, strong will and elevates worship in his sight. Let’s start with fasting because it is the chief aim of this blessed month. We are going to deal with the upbringing of our children and get them accustomed to acts of worship in sequence after talking about fasting. How should we accustom our children to fasting? Should we make them fast the whole day? How should we compensate what they miss during the fasting period?


First: Best age to start fasting.

There is no specific age to start fasting, for every child has his own circumstances. In some cases, a six-year-old child can fast. On the other hand, in the heat of summer, high temperature and on a long day, a twelve-year-old child may not be able to complete fasting. So, when your child wants to fast, encourage him. However, you should watch the signs of weakness on him and intervene at the appropriate time.


Second: When should I prevent my child from fasting?

This can be classified into two categories: temporary and permanent prevention. Reasons for permanent prevention are somewhat rare where the child suffers from emaciation, chronic illness or insulin dependent diabetes and depend on insulin injections as the sole source for insulin, needing several meals in the day so as not to suffer from low blood sugar. There are many other reasons which we are not going to deal with, such as heart diseases and digestive ailments.

The temporary reasons for preventing fasting are gastroenteritis, fever or severe anemia. The child may fast after recovering from the illness.


Third: How to accustom him to fast?

We should provide meals normally at normal times for young children. However, when the child grows older and can abstain from eating, it is better to accustom him to fast gradually. For example, he should fast for some hours and then fast until the time of lunch and continue until he can fast the whole day.


Fourth: Help him by providing the appropriate Iftaar.

You should provide the child, who starts fasting, with a balanced healthy diet at Iftaar (the time of breaking the fast) to compensate for the lost energy throughout the day.


The Iftaar, for example, should contain:

1- Carbohydrates: They are found in bread, rice, macaroni, and so on. they are essential to provide the child with energy.

2- Fats: Despite the ill repute of fats, it is very important for the child’s meal to contain a reasonable amount of fats. They are very important for building the brain cells and used as a source of energy. It is recommended to use vegetable oils which are available in a liquid state at room temperature, not saturated fats.

3- Proteins: They can be found in various kinds of meat and pulses. They are very important for building muscles.

4- Vitamins and minerals: They are very important for the well-being of the nervous system and growth of the body. They are available in fruits, vegetables and dairy products.

5- Water and other Fluids: The amount of fluids needed by the body during the fasting day does not differ from other normal days. The body of the child from five to thirteen years needs 45-75 ml/kg of water, i. e., about 4 to 6 cups of water per day. Above thirteen years of age, the body needs about 35 ml/kg per day. If the child’s weight is 50 kg, then, he needs to drink about 7 cups of water per day. It should be noted that the amount of water should increase if the number of activities outside home increases which leads to losing greater amounts of fluid.


Let’s start now

Dear parent, do not wait until the coming of the blessed month to surprise your child that Ramadan is the following day. You should talk to him from now about this month and convey your feelings about this month. You should try to make him feel attached to the rituals of Ramadan. Try to talk to him about fasting, the Taraaweeh Prayer (voluntary night prayer) and meeting relatives and friends in the mosque. Do your best to make him see and experience the atmosphere of this blessed month and to long for it. Here is a story of a grandfather who sat with his eight grandchildren filling them with desire to receive the blessed month.

The grandfather sat with his eight grandchildren to tell them a bedtime story. However, he was not in the mood for telling stories. With a glance full of kindness, he looked at his grandchildren and said, “Do you like the month of Ramadan?” The children answered:

“I like Ramadan because we eat delicious food.”

“I like it because we fast.”

“I like it because I go out to pray with my father.”

Voices became loud and mixed and did not stop until the grandfather nodded to them and said, “I like Ramadan because of many things. Do you know them? Ramadan is the month of sweetness of faith where the Muslim tastes the sweetness of adhering to the strong Rope of Allah. The Muslim adheres to his relationship with his Lord and bows before the His will, not before the tasty food and temptations of life.”

At the same time, every night the grandfather explained the meanings of Ramadan: fasting, worship, prayer, recitation of the Qur'an, Zhikr (remembrance), solidarity, feeling for others, supplication, invocations, drawing near to Allah The Almighty and victory granted by Allah The Almighty.

So, you should be keen on paving the way before Ramadan for your child. The best means of preparation are the traditional decorations of Ramadan. Let your child make these decorations and hang them and give him a hand. This is one of the best means to delight children and make them long for the coming of the month.
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