The last thing any mom wants is to be running around trying to get her act together.
Oh wait! I forgot to…
When can I…
The baby is crying and hungry and you have not even started dinner. How will you ever get Iftaar ready in time if baby is stuck on your hip all day?
Is it too late to start preparing now?
Can you relate? If you have little toddlers and babies in the household, then I am sure that like me, you too are worrying about ways you can minimize 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!
It is NOT too late to start Preparing for Ramadan
With four kids and usually two under two, I have some tips that I have tested time and again with confidence! Now that my children are a little older, my struggle is a little different but here is how I juggle kids and ibadah:
If you are a new mother then I must ask you to start preparing now. Even though there is still some time before Ramadan, start getting yourself ready today because trust me, Ramadan time is like no other time of the year.
Have you done your shopping? I don’t mean Eid. I mean grocery shopping! Yes, do it now so that you don’t have to go while fasting or at the last moment before the moon is sighted. If you live in the Middle East or somewhere in Desi-land, I am sure you know how they raise the prices close to Ramadan.
Be smart and save money and time! Do your shopping for groceries and Eid while the offers are on! Buy those gifts in advance too! If you can pack them and ready all the better!
2. Prepare your children.
Talk to your children that Ramadan is coming. 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. It doesn’t matter if they are just 1 year old. They understand you very well. Read books, have a Ramadan countdown calendar where they are involved.
We did this simple crafty calendar when my children were very tiny. I had three children of three different age groups – a preschooler, a toddler and a baby. It was fun to involve them in an activity but even more so because my kids were so excited to move the ring on it. This year we started by decorating the windows and then doors.
Tweak their schedule to set their timings.
Our timings change and along with our routine we impact our children too. They know something is different. All children have a schedule that they follow. Whether you follow a routine or not, your child will follow some timings that they are used to. Come Ramadan all this will change. You will get up for Suhoor in the middle of the night. At their bedtime, you may be breaking your fast. How will your children cope? What about Taraweeh? So, look into it now. Think about how you can gently change your child’s schedule so they are more comfortable with the time change.
Recommended reading: How to tweak your child’s schedule to adjust to Ramadan Timings.
3. Start Planning Meals.
While you are preparing the children for Ramadan, start planning the meals too. Plan not only what YOU will eat but also for the kids too. 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 low on sleep 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, favorite foods, easy recipes and snack ideas that you can have available that are no brainy.
4. Plan Kids Activities
So now, your children know that Ramadan is coming, you know when they will sleep and eat and you have ideas to feed them when they are hungry, what will you entertain them with?
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?
Why plan activities for Ramadan?
Planning your child’s activities for Ramadan will not only make sure that they are busy but also buy you time. You are also helping them learn about the joy of Ramadan. It isn’t like a few activities that you can do for a few days, 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.
Recommended Reading: Planning Kids Activities how and Why?
Even if you have an 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. Personally, with two little toddlers and 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. Printables are a mom’s best friends. We are not talking about just coloring pages but everything. Crafts, decor, writing practice, math games, stuff they can do and enjoy on their own. 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.
Did your know that your child can help you in Ramadan too? No matter how old or young they are, your child will really benefit by doing some chores. Even children as young as 18 months old can be involved in our housework.
As my husband says: ‘put some responsibility on their little shoulders and they will walk in a straight line’. 😀
Hide those toys or purge some!
This is my secret to sanity around my home. Kids don’t play with all the toys all the time. Also come Eid, they will get new stuff, right? Best time of the year to hide those old ones or get rid of the broken ones!
Word of advice though: Don’t do it with them. (bad experience.) 😐
5. Take Care of Yourself
So far the tips above were for handling your child/children. Now, what can you do to have a stress free Ramadan yourself?
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. Sleep when the kids nap!
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 you’re giving them. My children have all learnt to pray with the adhan because they see us praying.
This Ramadan, pledge to start your child on this life long habit of praying with the adhan.
Drink lots of water. Do you know about Ramadan fatigue? Your body aches, your lethargic and have no motivation to do anything? That is because your body is not getting enough water. Breastfeeding or moms with toddlers suffer the most but even those with big kids get tired, you know.
How many glasses of water do you drink between iftaar and suhur in Ramadan? Start now. Get into the habit of drinking more water now so you can continue on in Ramadan.
I also advise to take multivitamins. Vitamin C and D can really help you with that fatigue and a little more iron for mums is always good. Read this post on what natural multivitamins I take and recommend to others.
Involve the kids in your spiritual activities. As I was saying above, when you are praying, put your child next to you or have them 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.
You can have a theme and plan your child activities along it too. When you read to them, read Islamic stories or stories of the prophet.
We had a A-Z of Akhlaaq series a few years ago 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.
Another year, we did the Alhamdulillah for Series for the full 30 days. It was so much fun!
Last year, we had Kids in the Kitchen in Ramadan Series where I let my kids help in the kitchen with their own dish. It was fun and they were so happy to be playing active roles in serving others.
Prioritize in the Kitchen. When it comes to preparing for Suhur and iftaar, sadly, inspite of having little kids, mothers cook so much food. Be smart. It is a good to make different foods for your family to celebrate the Ramadan spirit but you don’t have to have twenty items on the table every day.
I understand you are trying to teach your culture but you can choose to have just a few things too. It is we mothers who set the bar too high for ourselves and then complain when we can’t keep up to it.
There is no competition to be better than your sister in law or your neighbors.
Don’t spend all your time in the kitchen. Use it for prayer and show your children what the REAL Ramadan looks like.
Recommended reading: How to save time in the kitchen when you have little children.
These are 5 ways to preparing for Ramadan in a stress free way.
- Prepare and get into the mindset.
- Prepare your children by talking to them, tweaking their time table
- Start planning meals for the whole family.
- Plan your kids activities and have their entertainment ready.
- Take care of yourself now with the simple tips mentioned above.
I don’t believe in doing everything at the same time but I do believe that memories and the joy of Ramadan is in the little things that we do for our families. Our children watch us and learn. If you take on Ramadan as stressful and something of a big deal to be afraid of, you are passing that on to your child. Don’t you think so? Wishing you a blessed month! <3
This post is part of the Monthly Goals series. Hop on to read what other muslim moms are doing this month.
How to Learn Through Baking by Multicultural Motherhood
Let’s Plan and Work for a Productive Living by Alizeh My Soul