Sunday, July 22, 2012

Ramadan, not drama-dan

During Ramadan, our whole schedule changes.  The timings, food habits, work schedules and let us not forget the increased family obligations that come with it.  This is NOT easy when you have children.  It often results in increased tension and anxiety.  Some parents do not change their children's schedule at all, which can be ideal, but it is quiet unrealistic when you have children of different ages.

So,what is the solution? Is there a perfect schedule that I magically came up with?  Unfortunately not!  But there is some good news... I do have some tips:)

  • It is important to make sure your children have enough GOOD QUALITY sleep.  It may be easier for some to let the children stay as late as they want as they can sleep in all day since it is summer vacation.  This is NOT healthy.  There needs to be enough hours in the day where children see sunshine, and sleep when it is dark... Simple enough right? sleep when it is dark and wake up when there is sun outside.  Ideally, we all (especially children) should be asleep between the hours of 10pm-12pm.  I will look for the research that supports this statement soon.

  • It is O.K. to have some sweets.  As you know, I am not a big fan of elimination diets (where you completely stop your child from eating a specific thing) UNLESS, there is an allergic or medical reason for it. Provide alternatives and healthy options when possible, and put a limit.  Same with fried food, but I honestly think there is no need for fried at all since you have so many yummy alternatives!

  • Find time to be with your children.  As your free time is challenged this Ramadan, a little bit of pre-planning is in order.  Ramadan is a time for family, so why not think of group activities that you could do together.  This can help you with the first tip, as you can plan a nice night-time activity as a pre-sleep routine.  You could also have an activity right after futoor/iftar since there is usually a period of relaxation.  One suggestion with older children is playing trivia or board games.

  • Organize activities for your children during the day (at home or outside).  This will ensure less phone calls to you during work, and less agitated attention-seeking behavior when you are home.  It also ensures that your children are awake during the day, and tired at an acceptable hour by night.

  • Lead by example.  This is always the best tip and applies to ALL of the above.

These are my tips for tonight, I will keep them coming as the month progresses...

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