In this counseling answer:
“An alternative option might be to allow them to fast on any day they want to, including if they have an exam or sports, but instead tell them that if they feel that they can’t complete their fast, then it is okay in their situation to breakfast. As they get older, however, they also need to understand that this will not necessarily be a permissible reason to breakfast, especially if they only want to break because they feel hungry.”
Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh,
Ramadan Mubarak. There are many challenges that come with training children for Ramadan, and when they are going to school in the non-Muslim environment there are additional challenges that you anticipate facing. There are, however, some ways in which you can make things easier.
Like you say, your child is not at the age yet where fasting is obligatory, but we know that training them years in advance will make it easier for them to fast in the future when it does become an obligation.
It gives them the chance to not only know what to expect but also the chance to begin appreciating the things that Ramadan encourages, even if it is just as simple as understanding the feeling of hunger that many of our brothers and sisters face each day, not just during Ramadan.
If you have big concerns around them fasting on school days, then you could simply encourage them to fast on weekends only.
If however, they want to fast on school days too, then as they’re not yet at the age where it is obligatory they could skip fasting on days where they have an exam or sports and allow them to fast on the other days where they don’t have to do such demanding tasks.
An alternative option might be to allow them to fast on any day they want to, including if they have an exam or sports, but instead tell them that if they feel that they can’t complete their fast, then it is okay in their situation to breakfast.
As they get older, however, they also need to understand that this will not necessarily be a permissible reason to breakfast, especially if they only want to break because they feel hungry.
So, perhaps this particular option might one that will suit the older children who are almost at the age where fasting becomes mandatory in order they can get a better feel for the challenges that they may face as a teenager/adult.
To further support them with this, especially when it comes to fasting on school days, you can make things easier for them by informing the school.
This way the teachers will be able to support them and will be aware of what they are doing. Also, be sure to let the teachers know that it is ok for them to break their fasts if they need to. Again, this way their teachers will be able to keep an eye on them in case they need to break their fast.
In the meantime, continue to strengthen their connection to Allah this Ramadan by engaging as many acts of ibaadah as possible, especially as a family so you can bond in these activities and the children can experience both the challenges and joys that come in this month.
Having this understanding and positive association with Ramadan and understanding why we fast they will get the best from the experience and be motivated to join in in subsequent years.
May Allah reward you for supporting your children to engage in an enjoy Ramadan. May He put Barakah in all you activities during this blessed month.
Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.