I am SO excited for this piece! I don’t know if it is the 40 days being at home, the lack of social interaction, the fact that Ramadan this year is SO different or all of the above:) – in case you are reading this in 10 years, 2020 was the year of pandemic where Muslims got abducted and sent to celebrate Ramadan on an island in the Bahamas… just kidding! It was just a pandemic! A really bad one that pretty much hit the reset button on our planet and life as we know it-moving on.
So, this Ramadan is different, because we are not seeing anyone (physically) and the kids are getting older. This year I have a 13-year-old, an almost 12 years old and a 4-year-old. It is one of my favorite Islamic holidays/ celebrations every year, it represents hope! A new beginning and new goals. Whether you are an over achiever, a peace seeker, and extrovert or an introvert… one way or another this month finds its way to bring joy to everyone. So here is to sharing with you and opening up:) Thank you for everyone who commented on my Instagram posts and stories, they might call it social distancing, but I will continue to call it physical distancing… as we are all connected one way or the other.
First… the doubts (or as I like to call it a part of growth):
As I started planning my daily goodie bags, conversed with some friends and checked my plans from the previous years -check my detailed plan for 2018-, I had a nagging question, am I unintentionally defeating the purpose of building consistent healthy religious habits by tying it to daily tangible rewards? The answer was no and yes! No, because I always had an open discussion with my kids, we started a tradition 9 years ago which they look forward to every year, also they do deserve being rewarded for difficult tasks or just for consistency and finally because we encourage their practices (Ibidat) all year long not just in Ramadan. Yes, because they are outgrowing the daily rewards, slowly walking into the teen phase of (dependability on parents) and they should be encouraged not daily rewarded for the staples like praying and fasting. Now, I am not a life coach, a parenting coach or any kind of coach 😉, but I do believe that parents know their kids and themselves best and that knowledge is power! Building plans and modifying it is solely based on their personalities, needs and changes that life throws at us.
Second… The plan:
So here is my plan for 2020 Ramadan Quarantine Edition:) The goodie bags REMAINS!!!! they voiced how they looked forward to it every year, BUT with a twist! We all decided to do our best to first benefit the most from this Ramadan, and second to not stress ourselves out. We each wrote down our SMART goals and had so much fun with it! Some decided to challenge themselves with reading one page a day, others decided to read a Juz.. the trick was doing something extra but realistic and attainable in the same time.
The kids are now older, so I made them a part of the decision making. I broke the month into three parts based on the prophet’s PBUH hadeeth… (10 days of Mercy, 10 days of forgiveness and 10 days of release from fire and closer to Janna/heavens). Every day and for 30 days they get to open a goodie bag with an activity that relates to the theme, some days they will need to come up with the activity themselves, other days the activity is to research something in Islam and talk to us about it. I explained to them that by doing this, they are already earning the reward of it, and I will be adding a monetary value to it towards their Eid gift which they should judge if they earned it daily or not. It was very important for me to explain that you don’t get a Eid gift because you did an act of kindness, you get a Eid gift because it is Eid BUT you get rewarded for acts of kindness extra because it is Ramadan and that is the spirit of the month:)
As for Aya my preschooler, I did things a tad different. I got a white blank chart and wrote good deeds and bad deeds with a divider in between. Every day she opens her bag and finds a clip art of an act, she gets to glue it on the right side of the chart and earn points towards her Eid gift as well. With Aya, I will be teaching her little things like (What is Wuduu, how to pray…etc) and will decide as we go to reward her from a box full of $1 store items I have for emergencies – and let’s be real… my sanity! –
Fridays are special, so every Jumaa we do a treasure hunt where I actually give them a small gift with a reminder (are you on track for your goals, can you believe it’s been a week, do you like the plan so far?…etc)
So without further ado… I give to you …. the Ramadan 2020 Quarantine Plan, feel free to download, modify, share with everyone you think would benefit this:)
And for everyone who asked what’s the break down for younger kids. I gathered these clip arts and included one in each goodie bag randomly. Aya needs to open one daily, discuss the picture and stick it on a simple home made chart labeled (good deeds, bad deeds)
Here is a picture of the good deed/ bad deed chart – a good opportunity to discuss the concept of (hassanah and Saye’aa)
Here is a picture of the Ramadan basket you will find on day 1 of the plan (it has a personalized lantern, Hisn Al muslim, an empty notebook and zamzam water)
And a picture of a little corner in our house that I decorate every year for them to sit, pray or just chill and feel the Ramadan vibe
Ramadan Kareem everyone:) Here is to new beginnings