Small children who have not yet reached puberty are not required to undergo Ramadan fasting. However, you, as a parent, can introduce children to Ramadan fasting early so when the children grow up and are obliged to fast, they will be able to handle Ramadan well.
Then, how to teach a child how to fast for the first time?
Tips to teach children fasting for the first time
Teaching a child to fast may be a bother for you. Sometimes, there are children who want to fast like other family members, but there are also children who do not want to. Before teaching a child to fast, you should give the child understanding first of what fasting is and why they need to do it every year. Once given the meaning behind fasting, the child may find it easier to follow fasting.
Here are tips for teaching fasting to children for the first time:
Give the child an example
Teaching a child about fasting is easy. But leading an example by yourself is harder. Naturally, as children often imitate the adults, this makes it easier for the child to learn to fast.
When you undergo a fast, surely the child will ask what fasting is, why mommy and daddy are not eating, and so forth. This will cause curiosity in the child, so the child wants to try and practice it. Remember, at a young age, children can easily imitate the behavior of someone around them.
Do not force the child to fast fully
Give the child a leeway during their first fasting. You need to remember that the child is still in a period of growth and development where they still need a lot of nutrients. In addition, small children also cannot help themselves or forget that they are not allowed to eat, then go get food or a drink when they need. Thus, forcing a child to fast fully or fast every day can pose a health risk.
You should start to teach your child to fast slowly. Starting from fasting a few hours in a day then increase if the child can endure it. Most importantly, teach the child how to deal with certain situations during a fast such as a lunch invitation or if they get hungry. Their ability to and awareness of fasting will also increase over time.
Ask the child to fast from certain foods
If the child is accustomed to eating certain foods, ask the child to avoid these foods at first while fasting. For example, if a child likes chocolate and chips, ask the child not to eat them during the fasting hours. This can help eliminate bad consumption habits. In addition, it can also help them have a better appreciation for the food.
Don’t forget to reward success
Regardless of how many hours the child is fasting or how many days a child follows the fast, you should reward your child after they break the fast. This award can increase their spirit to join fasting again. You do not have to give a gift, just praise them and say they have done well.
You can also offer your child’s favorite food when the fast is over. This is also one of the things that make children happy. However, choose healthy foods that contain essential nutrients, such as foods that contain carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Do not form a habit of giving sweet foods because they do more harm than good.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: August 30, 2017 | Last Modified: August 30, 2017
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When Should Children Begin Fasting? https://pediatriceducation.org/2011/10/10/when-should-children-begin-fasting/. Accessed May 25, 2017.
Dieting And Fasting Tips For Kids – All You Need To Know. http://www.momjunction.com/articles/teaching-children-about-fasting_00381963/#gref. Accessed May 25, 2017.
Education of children in Ramadan. http://www.qss.org/articles/ramadan/8.5.html. Accessed May 25, 2017.