It’s that time of year again where people are planning their Ramadan, and especially planning how to get the most out of this blessed month, in sha Allah. Since I have young children in the house, I no longer get to be in a Ramadan bubble, where I can retreat for the month with lectures, taraweeh prayers, and iftars as the masjid. Things have had to adjust to match with my growing family, and in sha Allah I can share with you how to build a routine to get the most out of Ramadan.
1. Carve out the necessities
Do you work during the day, or have classes your children go to? What areas of your life are not able to adjust during Ramadan? Make sure you enter these into your week before you get started with anything else. Also factor in sleep! I see so many sisters who plan to only get 3-4 hours of sleep a night, but this is not realistic. Your body has rights over you, and your children need a mother that has a reasonable amount of rest.
Also remember that your children need you, sometimes for making lunch if they are still young, and your household duties do not disappear during Ramadan either. Unfortunately, your week is not a completely blank slate, so make sure not to cut out things you need to do for the things you want to do.
2. Make time for education
To love Allah and His deen, we must become knowledgable of it. There is always something new to learn, and many masajid will hold special lectures and classes the coming weeks before Ramadan. Carve out some time to increase your knowledge using lectures, books, or classes at the masjid in sha Allah. Many mothers are able to have time for their own education before the kids get up in the morning. Whether it is after Fajr, during nap time, or after the kids go to bed, try to find time to build your knowledge, in sha Allah.
Always remember to schedule out some time for the kids to increase in knowledge as well, in sha Allah. I like to buy a few new Islamic books right before Ramadan so we can dig into those. Maybe you intend to be more consistent with the kids’ Arabic lessons or help them learn a new du’a. The habit of making goals and working toward them during Ramadan is a more important lesson than the quantity of du’a or Qur’an learned throughout the month. Help your kids make goals and benefit in this month, in sha Allah.
3. Make time for dhikr
Ramadan can be a really busy month, especially if we are out for taraweeh and numerous iftars. Take time to slow down and just be thankful – thankful for your breath, your knowledge, your family, your iman, your home, your safety, etc.
Dhikr is normally a quiet activity, so it takes the intention to bring the kids into it and build their own dhikr habits. Often the best way is to speak your dhikr quietly so they can hear that you are making dhikr, but maybe not able to hear exactly what you are saying. A baby’s nap time or another quiet time in the house is great to refocus and take advantage of the slow pace of the home, even if it is a short while.
4. Make time for meal planning
Social media seems to go crazy with food pictures during Ramadan. Are we losing focus on what’s really important? Our natural desire is to feed our bodies, and when we have all day to prepare a meal, it’s easy to get too engrossed in it. Instead of letting meal planning and preparation take over your day, plan ahead so you have more of your day for increasing your iman. We typically meal plan for two weeks at a time, aligning with when my husband gets paid. During Ramadan I use our slow cooker a lot, and in years where I’m really on top of things, I will freeze meals before Ramadan even starts so some days all I need to do is get the food out of the freezer and heat it up. Figure out a time to meal plan and stick to it so it doesn’t take more time than it needs.
When you have the four areas mapped out, you can fill them with your specific goals to improve your Islam, and help build your children’s Islam as well. Do you have favorite activities to encourage education or dhikr for your family?