Sunday, April 21, 2024

Paediatric tips for Ramzan fasting in kids

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As families across the globe come together to honour the sacred month of Ramzan, it is imperative for parents to ensure that their children engage in fasting safely and healthily. While fasting carries immense religious and cultural significance, particularly for the youth, it is vital to approach this practice with caution and mindfulness towards their well-being.
Above all else, parents must take into account their child’s age and overall health before introducing them to fasting. Young children, especially those who have not yet reached puberty, may lack the physical stamina to go without food and water for prolonged periods. For these youngsters, it is recommended to promote small acts of fasting, such as skipping a meal or refraining from certain indulgences, in order to instill the essence of Ramzan without jeopardizing their health.
For older children who express a desire to fast, it is crucial to educate them on the significance of moderation and listening to their bodies. Encourage them to start with shorter fasts and gradually increase the duration as they grow accustomed to the practice. Stress the importance of staying hydrated and consuming nutritious meals during non-fasting hours to replenish their energy levels and support their developing bodies.
Parents should also remain vigilant for signs of fatigue, weakness, or dehydration in their children during fasting periods. Foster open communication and reassure them that it is acceptable to break their fast if they are feeling unwell. Remind them that their health and well-being should always take precedence over strict adherence to fasting traditions.
In addition to monitoring their physical well-being, parents can nurture their children’s spiritual journey during Ramzan by involving them in acts of charity, prayer, and introspection. Encourage them to focus on the spiritual facets of fasting, such as self-discipline, gratitude, and empathy towards others. Let this month be a time of growth, reflection, and connection for the entire family. In the grand scheme of things, Ramzan fasting has the potential to be a transformative and rewarding journey for children, fostering not only their spiritual development but also their physical health. Through a mindful, balanced, and empathetic approach, parents have the power to guide their children in observing this sacred religious tradition in a way that is both nourishing and profound. Let us embark on this noble endeavor with intention, grace, and reverence, ensuring that our children emerge from this experience stronger, wiser, and more connected to their faith.

(The author, Dr. Nihar Parekh, is a  pediatrician at [Second Opinion Online Consultation For Children].)

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