Ramadan is about two weeks away and for some of us, it can be an anxious time, wondering whether we will be able to make the most of this blessed month whilst juggling mum duties. We are all in different seasons of life – the mum with the newborn and a toddler will have a very different Ramadan to the mum with the 10 year old and a teenager, but there are a few things that we can do to set ourselves up for success before Ramadan even begins:
- Plan, Prepare and Prioritise
Get yourself a Ramadan planner, a notebook, a piece of paper, or make a list on your computer of everything you want to achieve during Ramadan, things you need to get done before Ramadan, and things you need to get done before Eid. Don’t worry about putting them in order yet, just get everything out of your head and onto paper and once you’ve done that, group the tasks in a way that works for you. Once you’ve done that, think about what needs to be prepared for that specific task. For instance, ‘Plan activities for children,’ might involve printing, purchasing an activity pack, stocking up on craft supplies – think about what you need to carry the task out. When you have all that down, prioritise your list and work through it as efficiently as you can. We often say that we have ‘no time,’ but the truth is we’re just not spending it wisely. The Instagram stories, the Facebook scrolling, the YouTube videos, they can all wait – what’s important is planning for the most special month of the year.
- Set spiritual goals
So often we forget ourselves in all the Ramadan and Eid preparations, so I’ve deliberately listed this before anything else. Ramadan is not just about making it special for our children or teaching them more about their deen, it’s also a time for us to make dua’a, to build a closer relationship with the Qur’an, and to engage in reflection. With young children that may seem impossible, but it isn’t. Setting spiritual goals means you have something at the forefront of your mind, something you are determined to achieve and work towards during Ramadan, as opposed to just sort of hoping for the best and going with the flow. In the past, what I’ve found very beneficial, is to print out a to-do list like this one. All I had to do was then just tick things off as I went through the list.
- Activities for children
Setting up activities for children serves two purposes – they are occupied with something besides TV, and they are learning all about Ramadan, Allah and Islam whilst you’re at it. We are so blessed to be in a day and age where we are literally spoilt for choice when it comes to activities for children. Pinterest is bursting at the seams with ideas for Ramadan activities and this is one of my favourites. It has ideas for activities for each day of Ramadan as well as a guide to week-by-week planning of Ramadan activities centred around themes! All you need is a little time to yourself when the children are in bed one evening and you can put together a quick little list of activities you would like to cover with them and prepare for them beforehand as well.
- Plan those meals
Meal planning for Ramadan is very different across cultures/ countries but it’s something that most people spend time on before or during Ramadan. This year try to minimise the work you’ve got to do in the kitchen by meal planning beforehand and even writing grocery lists out that you can always amend just before you go shopping. Planning for suhoor is crucial – ensure you have ingredients on hand to create foods that will sustain you for as long as possible. If you are looking to have a healthy Ramadan, reduce the time you spend in the kitchen, and to waste less food, consider downloading this free printable to help you.
- Get everything for Eid done before Ramadan begins
Before Ramadan, try to aim to have already purchased gifts, clothes and anything else you might need for Eid. Wrap your gifts before Ramadan even begins, iron your children’s Eid clothes, double check that they’ve got whatever they need for their outfits and that you have what you need for yours. It will save you having to go to the shops whilst fasting to look for shoes or tights or a headband or whatever it is that you’ve forgotten and most importantly, you will go into Ramadan calm and collected and not frazzled and stressed.
- Welcome Ramadan in a clean and organised home
An organised home is an organised mind. Take the time before Ramadan to give your house a good top to bottom clean. You don’t have to declutter if you don’t have the time to, but it will mean a lot less cleaning just before Eid, because you started with a clean slate that you just need to ensure that you maintain throughout Ramadan with a simple cleaning routine. Get the children involved and helping out – children as young as 2 years old can help to clean – and you’ll be welcoming Ramadan with a beautifully clean, decorated home. If you intend to decorate, gather your decorations now and pop them in a bag or basket. Make sure you have command hooks, blu tac, tape or anything else you need to hang your decorations, so when the time comes, it will be a smooth, enjoyable experience.
- Make daily sadaqah easy
LaunchGood is an online platform that enables you to make your Ramadan sadaqah donations daily and it is a busy mum’s dream! We know of the rewards of charity during Ramadan and none of us want to miss out. This platform makes it so easy to set up a regular amount and has such a variety of charitable causes and projects to donate to. If you want to choose specific projects, you can, but if you are far too busy for that and just want to set up a regular donation for every day during Ramadan (even from as little as £1!) – you can set that up before Ramadan even begins and you won’t have to do anything else!
- Plan for the time you will not be fasting
If you are pregnant, or breastfeeding, ill or menstruating and not fasting – plan for it. Utilise that time to take your children outdoors more, to read more Qur’an, increase in other forms of ibaadah or do tasks that you might otherwise tire you whilst fasting – like transporting donations, or making food gifts for your neighbours or sending iftar over to a family.
- Use all the time you have wisely
If you’re sitting for long periods whilst breastfeeding or driving children to school or to and from activities, or waiting to pick up children, use that time to listen to Islamic podcasts, or to watch beneficial reminders. You can do this whilst you wash dishes, whilst folding laundry, whilst cooking – grab those pockets of time and listen to as much beneficial knowledge as you can or to the recitation of the Qur’an. Not only will it benefit you, but those around you listening to it as well.
- What can you do now?
Think about other things you can do right now to make Ramadan easier. Does your child have a project at school due in the middle of Ramadan? Finish it now, before Ramadan begins and hand it in early. Can you arrange to take time off work for the last ten days of Ramadan now so you’re likely to be granted your request? Think about what you found challenging last Ramadan and ways that you can tackle those things before Ramadan begins.
Parenting isn’t always easy at the best of times, and it can be quite challenging during Ramadan. Reminding ourselves that caring for our children is an act of ibaadah in and of itself is important, but it is also important that we prepare for the best, most productive Ramadan experience possible and I hope these tips help you do just that.