Ramadan is just around the corner and some are still debating whether they will fast this holy month. Rightfully, some parents are also worrying about their children’s health when they first start fasting.
However, fasting can be absolutely safe for children and it would not affect their developmental growth. Of course, there are some measures to be taken in order to make it easier for them and still provide them with what they need during their growth period.
- Children must gradually and progressively introduce their bodies to long hours of fast. And yes, the method used by many Kurdish families to allow children to fast half a day or only a portion of the month, is medically accurate.
- Suhoor (a meal before morning prayer when fasting starts) is very important. It must never be skipped. Beans, yogurt, milk, or any other nutrients that are high in protein are good choices for Suhoor.
- In order to maintain the required energy, Suhoor must also include starch; for example, rice, potato, or cereal.
- Also, sugar in general, and glucose in particular, is essential for concentration. Jams and honey are rich in them. Vitamins and mineral salts are found in vegetables and some fruits. These nutrients must be included in both Futoor (the meal when fast is broken) and Suhoor. Unhealthy or very low amount of food must be avoided.
Once kids reach puberty, they are religiously advised to fast. Children could be encouraged to fast after the age of seven. It is not compulsory. However, at ten, they should be expected to fast. Nonetheless, sometimes it depends on the person’s nature. Some might be able to fast even before that time and others are not capable of doing so. I, personally, started fasting pretty late. Children must definitely not push their limits too much.
In the end, let’s not forget that fasting is naturally healthy. It rids the body of undesired elements, revitalizes, and teaches little kids patience and sharing the spirit of the month, which is the main reason why many children desire to fast or mimic their parents.
May the great Allah shower your path with light and knowledge. May this month be an enlightening celebration to all of us. Ramadan Kareem! 🙂