Ramadan lessons for toddlers + make your own pocket du’a list

As Ramadan is quickly approaching, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the lessons I want to impart to my children this month, especially Pippin who’s getting old enough to really start comprehending higher level concepts like fasting and sacrifice.

There are several articles floating around the internet on activities for kids during Ramadan, but to be honest none of them really apply to what I envision for my family. This Ramadan I really want to teach Pippin what Ramadan actually is, and that’s the main reason I’m avoiding the majority of the activities I’ve come across.

Ramadan is a time of work: we push ourselves – emotionally, physically, and spiritually – to our limits this month. We strive our hardest, discover our strengths and weaknesses, and achieve things in Ramadan that we could never have done outside of this month. And when the month is over, we continue with our lives slightly better than we were pre-Ramadan, because of all that training. We spend all year playing around level 5, then ramp it up to level 11 during Ramadan, and we find that when the month’s over, hey, level 7 is actually pretty easy now. Ramadan is about self-improvement and recognizing just how much we can accomplish with Allah’s help. It’s a training ground.

And it’s also about recognizing that we are all truly blessed, regardless of what our individual life situation is, and that there are people in this world who don’t have the same blessings. Whether we are able to fast or not, able to pray or not, living in the first world or not, we all have countless blessings to be grateful for. And Ramadan forces us to ask ourselves: what are we doing with all that’s been given to us? If we have the blessing of abundant food, are we sharing it with those who don’t? If we have the blessing of wealth, are we spending it in the best way? If we have the blessing of spare time, how are we using it? If we have children, are we raising them to be the best of generations, who will take a broken world and make it better?

And finally Ramadan is the month of Qur’an, in which we strive to read, understand, and implement as much of the Qur’an as possible, and to seek out Laylat ul-Qadr, the night which is better than one thousand months simply because the Qur’an was revealed during it.

This is what I want to impart to my kids. The younger they are, the clearer and less diluted I want this message to be: Ramadan is a month of hard work, counting our blessings, and truly appreciating the Qur’an.

(Side note: Eid, however, is a different story. Eid is all-day partying. I’m also planning to write about Eid and hope to really go all out in celebration of that special day.)

I should be clear that I have absolutely nothing against the various ideas floating around on how to make Ramadan fun, how to make it something that kids look forward to each year, but I just wouldn’t start out with them right away. For a child Pippin’s age, I want to get the true meaning of Ramadan across. I’m not concerned about making it fun, because at Pippin’s age, I don’t expect her to actually take part in any of the “hard work” — I just want her to know that the older people in her life are striving their utmost. If she does anything extra during Ramadan this year, it will be completely her choice.

As she gets older, around age 6 or 7, I would start to expect her to join in with some of the striving her parents are doing. In that case, of course, I plan to add in a few “fun” activities, just to lighten her burden so that she’s not overwhelmed. Ramadan is tough! The older kids need a break once in awhile, and they already have a good idea of the meaning behind Ramadan. They already know that the fun activities are just a way to cope and get through all that spiritual training.

But at three? She’s not doing any work so I feel having “fun” activities at this age is counter-intuitive. She’s still trying to make sense of what Ramadan is about. You can’t say “Ramadan is about work,” and then turn around and play Ramadan games. So at this age, I want the message to be crystal clear about what Ramadan is and is not about.

So, I’m coming up with my own list of Ramadan lessons this year. I have a list of concepts that I want Pippin to focus on this month. I’ll be focusing on one concept per post over the next week. A lot of my ideas will probably be better for the 2-4 age group, but the concepts themselves are ageless and you could easily come up with modifications or new activities more suited to older kids. Younger sponges like Merry just absorb the amazing Ramadan atmosphere – no activities needed.

Make your own Ramadan du’a list and pocket du’a cards (printable)

Make your own Ramadan du'a list and pocket du'a cards

One thing I do every year that I’m sharing with Pippin this time around is making a du’a list for the month. I know many people make long lists and spend all night in prayer, but I tend to focus more on quality than quantity — the longer my list is, the less likely I am to actually use it! With a short list of 8-10 du’as, I can easily memorize it and make those du’as throughout the day and night, every iftaar, after every prayer, and even more often than that.

A friend of mine shared a very effective method for coming up with a basic du’a list that I’ve been using for years now. I’ve adapted it into a printable format for you since it’s been so beneficial to me. It’s not going to give you a perfect du’a list, but it will come close! It’s easy to make slight modifications afterwards to make it exactly right.

Print out the “Make your own Ramadan du’a list” printable to create your short list of du’as, then print the index card format as many times as you like: one copy for your prayer area at home, one for your handbag, one at work or in the car, one to tuck into your mushaf for taraaweeh prayers… Keep a copy handy wherever you are so that you never forget to make du’a! Use it yourself and then give one to everyone in your family. Share the khayr!

Download:

Make your own Ramadan du’a list printable
Index cards pocket du’a list printable

Stay tuned for more toddler-appropriate Ramadan lessons! And if you have any specific requests or feedback, don’t hesitate to leave a comment.

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12 comments

  1. Salaam sister! I I like your thoughts and your approach. You wrote: ‘You can’t say “Ramadan is about work,” and then turn around and play Ramadan games.’ This also often happens in many fields in elementary education. It all starts with fun (true to the motto: You have to pick up the kids where they are standing) and when later the real, hard work is required, faces are getting as long as a fiddle.

  2. asalaamu alaikum,
    I think I’m going to be coming back to this post a lot this month and rereading it. I started back at work this year and we just found out my husband needs to go away for the month of Ramadan. So as much as I’ve felt like juggling work and family were difficult up to this point it’s just about to get so much harder, and indeed pushing myself to limits that I’m not sure I’ve ever had to consider up to this point. But I really like the way you’ve articulated this and what we strive for in Ramadan, because in the past few days I’ve just been thinking a lot about why this is happening at this time and I think you’ve helped me make a little more sense of it.
    Uhibbuki fii-llahi

    1. Alhamdulillah! Yes, it’s so amazing, isn’t it? For the last few weeks, we’ve been dealing with one thing after another as well. To the point where pretty much everyone in our house was just sick and tired of everything happening. And then one day it clicked, that all of this was happening right before Ramadan, and that maybe we were focusing too much on ourselves and not enough on each other, maybe we were a little too attached to a certain material object that stopped working, maybe we worked ourselves up over something that, in the long run, is actually pretty insignificant. It’s like this stuff happens right before Ramadan to teach us a lesson and force us to stop, and prepare our hearts for worship.

      Ahabbak Allah ullathee ahbabtanee feehi <3

  3. This is really an awesome idea to print and keep the duva list. Actually I do write it in phone notepad as I do keep forgetting things these days…Thank you for sharing this wonderful idea.

  4. I have made Ramadan fun for my 3 year old….and I personally think that is important and works for us as a family. But of course everyone works differently.

    I never liked ramadan as a child…there was no excitement running up to it, just what as I saw as my parents staying hungry…. So I was determined to change it.

    Along with making it ‘fun’ they are being taught the importance….giving charity, good deeds….. etc. We made a sadaqah jar as part of the fun and she is understanding what it is for.

    1. Of course, if it works for you that’s great! You are definitely in the majority! This post was about what works for us, and hopefully to reach anyone else who is struggling to find different options for Ramadan.

  5. I don’t have any children at this time, iA one day but I think it is very important to make Ramadan fun and “innovative” whilst teaching them about the importance of it. I agree with what you said “Ramadan is tough” and it is tough on everyone, teaching our children the importance of the sacred time is tough as well and everyone will of course take their own approaches. I think it is also important to show our kids that this isn’t just a time for “fun and games” but a serious time to better ourselves. You post truly speaks to those sentiments and I appreciate that!
    Thank you!

  6. Oh Suhaila I LOVE this! I am literally printing it now and then intend to laminate it inshaAllah and have it in various places so I am constantly remembering to make duaa – I can see this being a firm favorite – perhaps something I change monthly even after Ramadan is over. Thank you for sharing this! xx

  7. Awesome masha Allah… I love the printables. I will share them with others insha Allah.

    May Allah grant you and your young ones the sweetness of this month – it is definitely a training ground. May we all emerge winners x

  8. I completely understand that you want to make your kids know the real value of Ramadan. Yeah the fun is there specially for kids but what’s the true purpose of Ramadan ? We should keep a balance as parents (I don’t have kids yet, but when I do I’ll have to). I love the idea of the dua list 🙂 I made one this year for myself and also made a podcast list to listen to.

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