Picture of Adeeba Jafri

Adeeba Jafri

Adeeba is the author of several books including The Baby Garden, A Zoom with a View and Show Yourself.

The month of Ramadan is upon us. Get ready for lots of posts on decorations, Iftar planning, Suhur baskets, gift suggestions and….exams?

Yeah, no one talks about the realities of motivating teens in the month of Ramadan. Already encumbered with exams, projects, papers, and a very real case of Zoom fatigue, teenagers are least likely to jump on the Pinterest bandwagon.

So what’s a parent to do? I have teamed up with three moms of teens who know just what to do to motivate their surly, eye-rolling teens this Ramadan.

Set realistic expectations.

So your teen hates talking to you about… anything. But this is their holy month too. Talk to them about what they want to achieve this month. Can they complete a whole reading of the Quran? Or 1/2? It’s important to look at what’s happening in their life. Are there any major exams or projects coming up? Depending on what’s happening, they might decide to scale back on their goals, or vice versa.

Decorate accordingly.

No teenager is able to focus on their studies if there are blinking lights staring at them from every room of the house. Either decorate one part of the house or wait until a few days before Eid before bringing out the lanterns and balloons. As always, there’s a lot of debate as to whether one should decorate or not. Honestly, each family does their own thing according to their own comfort level.

Make different food.

If your teens are anything like mine, food is an expression of love. Teenagers also have a more diverse food palate so they are much more receptive to changes in the menu. Putting in the extra effort to make food that’s different helps teens make a connection that Ramadan is not like other months.

Watch something together.

Over the last few years, we’ve made it a habit to find a 5-10m lecture on an important topic. Last year, it was the Angels in Islam series by Sh Omar Sulaiman.

Simple changes go a long way. Although they seem like it, teens aren’t completely oblivious to their surroundings. They do notice the small changes we make, whether it’s getting the house repainted, changing decor, or using a different dinner set. These changes may seem small but still have a powerful impact. They show our teenagers that there is something special about Ramadan.