In this counseling answer:
•Firstly, explain to them why you want to reduce their time in these activities, i.e. to give more time to worship Allah during this holy month. Let them know that it’s not a punishment, but is for their own good.
•Empowering them and involving them in the process will also place them in a position that will be more likely to comply with the instructions with less resistance.
Wa alaikum salaam dear sister,
Ramadan Mubarak. Masha Allah, your children are now old enough to join you in the festivities of Ramadan. You want to do your best to make the experience an enjoyable one for them but are concerned about getting them away from the various technologies that they are otherwise attached to.
There are a few different ways that you could approach this challenge. Whilst you could take them away entirely, or just allow them to continue playing them as they would do normally, these options are much less likely to yield the effects that you are hoping for of them reducing their time on these activities, but also having fun and enjoying Ramadan on a more spiritual level.
One option is to limit the time they spend on these activities daily. Imposing this restriction on them without an explanation may cause conflict so there are a few things to keep in mind when doing so. Firstly, explain to them why you want to reduce their time in these activities, i.e. to give more time to worship Allah during this holy month. Let them know that it’s not a punishment, but is for their own good.
Let them know that this is why you will also be restricting your own time using internet, mobile..etc.. That way they will be able to see that it is not a punishment, but something that we should all be looking to accomplish as well as you leading by example and imposing the same restrictions on yourself too.
Empowering them and involving them in the process will also place them in a position that will be more likely to comply with the instructions with less resistance. You can do this by giving them some choice is the process. If you feel like they might be able to make reasonable choices about how long they play each day then you can negotiate a time between you.
If you feel that they might be likely to ask to play a lot longer than you would be happy for them to play each day then you could be the one to tell them how much they play each day, but allow them to decide the time of day that they will play. Allowing them to be part of the process will make them feel more responsible for adhering to the agreement.
Furthermore, you can make the process easier by ensuring there are plenty of alternative things to do that will keep them distracted from the need to play games. There are many resources available online which have games and printouts to engage children during Ramadan. Again, this is another task that you can involve them in. Allow them to pick out the activities they would like to do.
Taking part in fun activities during Ramadan will build positive associations with Ramadan. You could help them to create a schedule of which activities they will do each day. You could make a plan together and stick it somewhere visible so they can see which activities they will do each day. This will help to keep them motivated each day and have something to look forward to as each day of Ramadan passes
You might also set targets regarding their Islamic education at this time too. Supporting them to increase their knowledge during this time by setting a monthly target to achieve by the end of Ramadan will hope to boost their confidence and motivation during this time also. Keeping a track of their progress towards their individual goals will keep them motivated.
Amongst the resources available online, there are also a wealth of Islamic games and apps available that they could avail of. You could include the use of these by either allowing their gaming/online time to be solely on these tasks, or you could perhaps split their gaming time into their usual games and Islamic games.
This again could be a decision that you negotiate between yourselves that they are empowered as a part of the process as well as allowing you to have some control in reducing the amount of time they spend doing the activities that you desire to reduce during the holy month.
May Allah bring you all the blessings of this holy month. May He grant you and your family the chance to grow together spiritually, striving for His sake.
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