4 May 2021|the power of self-reflection, values of your family
Hello from R.A.C.E., everyone
Ramadan Mubarak to you.
Ramadan is here and it’s going to be different for all of us this year, mostly for families, as our schedules have changed and are still unsettled due to the pandemic.
Change in normal lifestyle can be hard, especially for children, as they may not be ready to accept and understand the reasons behind it, and with their present situational understanding expect loads of why nots.
I am sure many parents will be dealing with issues due to this huge change of scenario, but I am also sure it is not going to change the spirit of Ramadan, fasting, zakat(donation)and hearts full of gratitude.
Here are a few suggestions to integrate children in the special month of Ramadan to inculcate the life-long understanding, and building families around values & culture with empathy and love.
1- Investing in Children’s Feelings & Emotions.
Most of us must have noticed, at times when a child gets emotionally involved in an activity, he/she rarely wants to leave it, this information is used by games & cartoon shows, they target children's emotions. We can try using the same technique as parents, teachers & educators.
Interesting stories, songs, role plays, art & crafts and games catch children's emotions. Once a child is interested and excited, he/she is more likely to stay attentive till the end and get the message we want to give. Just as we remember events in our lives that were emotionally significant, children remember concepts learned through activities that were "good", "fun", "exciting" or "different".
For Ramadan, writing a song or story about Eid, creating a Hadith treasure box, organizing a Ramadan trivia night, or enacting a story. If they enjoy it, the kids will come back for more every-day.
2-Children Will Learn More by "doing" than Reading or Listening.
More than seventy five percent of a lesson is retained in a child’s mind, when they learn through hands-on activities, compared to five percent through a lecture and 10 percent through reading, according to "The Process of Learning".
If, for example, we want to teach our children the concept of Charity/Zakat, telling them to help by counting the Zakat money and letting them decide where the money should be sent and letting them take a call to either mailing the envelope or physically deciding to go and give, will be a great learning experience. Action and implementation, in life, can occur while children learn, not necessarily when they are grown-ups.
A concept becomes real and important to children when they experience it rather than simply read about it. It will be remembered, how they did it, years later when we may catch them telling their friends, "I've been calculating Zakat since I was a kid”.
3. Explain ‘Whys’?
Many times we hear children complain, "Why do we have to do this?" or "This science lesson is of no use". And we also hear responses like, "Because I'm telling you to," "Because you have to", or worse, "You'll get a new game or a toy if you finish the book".
Like most of us, if children do not see the purpose or importance of an action, they will not be motivated to complete it. If we do not want to hear the same comments from our children about prayer or fasting, making sure that they understand the purpose behind doing it will help. Before beginning any lesson, explaining exactly why we are doing an activity and what benefits they will gain from it, will make sure that they will try their best.
If children are motivated to fast Ramadan for a material incentive (like a CD player), they may never develop an intrinsic desire to perform the action. They may, instead, learn to value material rewards and when the rewards disappear, the actions may disappear with them.
4.Give Your Child an Opportunity to be A Leader
Children often take responsibilities more seriously than adults.
Giving children an opportunity to decide and implement important tasks, will help them step out of their shell. Assigning one child to wake up all his siblings for Suhur. Another one oversees and updates the Iftar time every evening. Letting children plan, budget, and buy Eid gifts for all relatives. Let them choose which task they want to "be in charge of".
All these responsibilities will give them an opportunity to make mistakes and realize on their own what they should have done. Experience often trains better than instruction. Once a child goes out into the cold without a jacket, he will remember, before you can remind him, to put on his jacket next time.
Training children to be responsible for their own learning will help in the long way. If a child asks, "Will brushing teeth break my fasting?" we can reply in "yes" or "no" which may give them the answer but will not provide any long-term training. Asking them instead, "Where can we look to find that answer? Let us both do some research."
Begin the month of Ramadan by asking your children to do a research project on what breaks fasting and what does not. If they find the information themselves, they are likely to remember it and know exactly where from to get it again next year.
5-Show Enthusiasm & Excitement If You Want Them to be Excited
If we want children to be interested, then we need to be interested, as they catch on to our enthusiasm. Showing excitement and passion about the topic we are going to teach, will help. Sharing with children that you are super excited for Ramadan to begin. Being cheerful at prayer times, cleaning & setting up the house or deciding for the cuisine for each day & meal with the family in anticipation of Eid is a great way to involve them and bring excitement during special occasions.
Show children that you love them, regardless of how they are. Allowing each child to progress at their own pace without comparison. Excessive competition and comparison can often result in helplessness and lack of motivation for children who learn in different ways, or at a slower pace. Allow children to judge their own progress and compare themselves to their former level rather than that of others.
May the month of Ramadan be the beginning of a memorable, long-lasting & pleasant experience with loads of family time for you and your children. Try not to overwhelm yourself with trying to do it all in one go. Take small steps and use your judgement on how much you want to accomplish this Ramadan. Children learn quickly through repetition and reinforcement. I hope that sharing some of these Ramadan tips will help you have a productive time with your children.
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Executive life & Emotional wellbeing Coach.