Posted on Apr 08, 2020
Many of us are weeks into this home bound, quarantine lifestyle with the global coronavirus pandemic. And, while many of us are coming to grips (more or less) with our new routines, we are now imagining what Ramadan will be like this year and how to make the best out of the situation at hand.
I’m hearing some worry and panic in the voices of many mothers I talk to. They are wondering how to survive this new reality and still be able to recharge spiritually, while tending to the entire family. I suggest making a schedule combining the personal and the spiritual by incorporating kids’ activities into family life (much like you probably are doing already).
Ladies, we can do this! Take a deep breath and remember that we have had summer Ramadans not too long ago, where children were at home. We still managed, to our best abilities, throughout the holy month. Here are nine activities to help you and your kids make the most out of Ramadan!
Kids helping to prepare iftaar. Image source: Rana Bacaloni
1. A 30-day good deeds list: Ramadan falls during the school year. Some of us are homeschooling while others are helping their kids do school-managed distance learning/classes. Still other schools offer optional “learning opportunities” to kids through their schools. We have to ensure that our children follow the scholastic schedule and supplement fun spiritual activities for the evenings and weekends. Sounds easier said than done, right? Try implementing a 30-day Ramadan good deed list to teach empathy, compassion and giving back to each other.
Here’s How: We made a template with a deed tracker from Eid Creations. (Full disclosure – Eid Creations is a company I founded.) We kept the list confined to the home and family, since it may be difficult to implement ones about the community at large. Print out the template, cut each deed, fold and put in a fish bowl. Have your child draw a different one every morning or at iftar time to complete.
How to make this applicable for middle school-aged children: Come up with the good deeds list together so they feel ownership over the acts of kindness that they will perform.
2. Highlight a du’a every day: DIY a du’a calendar and tuck in written du’as into each pocket that you read with your kids after iftar time or whenever it suits your family. Here is a nice one that was developed by @Ayeina_Official
3. Read Ramadan-focused books together: Reading books builds a bond between families and can create lasting memories. Once you finish reading and you want the children to stay busy while you take a moment for yourself, RamadanREADy has free resources that correspond to many Islamic books.
4. Get your kids to write a khutbah in Ramadan: Encouraging your kids to write a khutbah for Jumu’ah salah at home will empower them to think about larger issues affecting the community. By letting them express their thoughts, you also get a glimpse into their psyche and what is affecting them these days.
5. Enroll your children in virtual halaqas: Virtual halaqas are not only educational but can help when you need time for yourself to read Quran, work or cook a meal. There are many free virtual halaqas out there; some examples are found here. Chances are your local masjid is offering virtual halaqas for kids and families as well!
And if you're just looking for activities to do while the kids are home to pass the hours during Ramadan, check out this site!)
6. Get your kids moving! As we are home bound, we need to ensure that children get their daily exercise, which not only gives them energy but also breaks the routine. Here is a downloadable activity list, which includes some exercise ideas. You can also get a healthy meal guide for families observing Ramadan and tips to stay healthy throughout the month. Try not to hang out always in one area of the house, which will bring about boredom and noncompliance. If you have an outdoor area, even if it is a small balcony, do some activities out there and get some fresh air.
7. Get them in the kitchen to help with iftar: I know, it may be easier to just do it yourself, but involving your children with iftar preps can be fun! Let them choose what you’ll make. Several years ago, while my daughters were in elementary school, I bought this children’s cookbook from William Sonoma, which was very easy to implement. The girls would pick the recipes they wanted, and I would get the ingredients, then have them follow the recipes independently, according to their abilities. I also purchased a plastic knife for their safety.
You can also make it a challenge to produce iftar meals out of what you have in your pantry! If there is something special the kids want, encourage them to make a list ahead of time, so you can order the appropriate ingredients online.
8. Host a virtual iftar: Let’s face it. We will be missing our family, friends and community this Ramadan. So, wouldn’t it be fun to host an iftar with your friends and family who are not in your household? You can be creative with this!
Bring your laptop or mirror the image onto your television and enjoy a meal together. Or, if it’s allowed in your area (depending on what stay-at-home measures are in place), get together in your driveway with just a few family members or friends – six feet apart, of course – and have an iftar together.
9. On the eve of Eid, bake eid cookies for friends, neighbors and family. You can either do the baking and have them decorate, or you can get them involved in the entire baking process. By the time Eid comes, if we are still in quarantine, you can do a decorating competition just within the family and perhaps drop off packages of cookies to friends and family who live close by.
I know that we are all absorbed by this COVID-19 pandemic. Some of us have lost our livelihood or worse, have loved ones who are sick or whom we have lost. How we feel and act gets passed on to our children. We all need to grieve, but we also must remember that this state is temporary, and our children's well being is for a lifetime.
I have lived through war where the situation was desperate. We were hauled in an underground shelter for many months, with no electricity and were subjected to continuous loud sound of bombs. Honestly, I do not remember if we had toilet paper or much food, but I do remember the fun time we had playing monopoly and staying up sharing stories with my siblings and neighbors who lived in our building.
This Ramadan, decorate your house like there is no tomorrow and try out one (or all) of the Ramadan activities suggested above! In my household, I have been using a different Ramadan napkin for every iftar night the past few years. It is a small gesture, but it makes a big difference in my family. My company, Eid Creations, is offering a free napkin pack when you place an order during Ramadan!
We all can use a little energy boost right about now; and by getting your Ramadan decorations and activities in order, not only are you creating memorable moments for your family, but you are also supporting small Muslim businesses. I pray your Ramadan is a beautiful, worship-ful one!
Rana Bacaloni is the creator of Eid Creations, a pioneer of Ramadan and Eid party decor since 2011. Her collections are sold worldwide and were recently introduced in mainstream markets such as Oriental Trading and Walmart. Eid Creations won Best Product at the National Stationery Show Winter 2020 and was awarded best upscale disposable Recyclable Decor Supplier by LuxLife Magazine.