Barnardo’s shares 10 ways to celebrate Eid with your children in a pandemic
With it being the third Eid during the global Coronavirus pandemic, Barnardo’s recognises that many families will face specific challenges this year, including grieving for loved ones, coping with financial constraints and dealing with feelings of loneliness and isolation due to the restrictions. All this can have a huge impact on the mental health and well-being of children, young people and their parents.
This week (10-14 May) is also Mental Health Awareness Week and there are ways families and children can enjoy the festivities that can help children’s mental health.
1. Putting up decorations together
Whether you decide to make them or buy them, creating a tradition of putting up Eid decorations together will become something your children will look forward to every year. You can buy Eid decorations online on Etsy, Ebay, Amazon and from independent sellers on Instagram and Facebook, or you can make your own cut-outs of stars and moons which children will love taking part in. Arts and craft can provide relaxation, distraction and absorption for children, and is hugely beneficial for their mental health.
2. Cooking, baking and eating together
Cooking is a great way to bring the family together; both past and present if you follow old family recipes. It’s also a calming activity for children, as it requires them to focus on a specific task and use their cognitive skills. Cooking recipes from loved ones who have passed away is also a good way to remember people we have lost.
3. Making Eid cards
This is a brilliant activity for children as not only is the arts and crafts element soothing, but it can also help them feel connected to the friends and family they won’t be able to see on Eid. They can also express their feelings through drawings and writing.
4. Dressing up
Wearing your best clothes on Eid was a tradition of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and wearing something special is a great way to separate a celebratory day from a regular day. If finances are strained, you can always look for bargains in a Barnardo’s charity shop or just wear something nice you haven’t worn in a while.
5. Giving each other presents
Giving presents was another sunnah (tradition) of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). These don’t have to be expensive and can be homemade as well. Children love to give and receive presents and it’s a great way to celebrate and remember loved ones.
6. Spending time outdoors
Spending time outside, in fresh air and with nature can do wonders for person’s mental health and well-being. Even if you have no grand plans for Eid, just taking the children for a walk in the park can improve their mood, their stress or anger levels and help them feel relaxed.
7. Meeting up with friends and family outside
The current rule is that you can meet up outside in groups of six (or two households) while maintaining social distancing. This includes private gardens, so if your family is small enough, you can invite friends over and your children can see them and play together. It’s really important for children to spend time with their friends, not just for fun, but for their mental health.
8. Taking part in group celebrations online
If you’re unable to meet up outside with your loved ones, you can organise a group celebration online. This is a great way to see your friends and family from the safety of your home and will help your children feel connected with the outside world.
9. Playing family games
This can be done as a family in real life, or online with the wider family. Playing board games together helps your children develop a wide range of skills like problem solving, number and letter recognition, and more complex calculations. It’s also a great way to bond with the family.
10. Communicating with each other
It’s important to realise that your children might be experiencing a range of emotions after such a turbulent and confusing year, and they might not even feel like celebrating. This might manifest in different ways, from being withdrawn to displaying anger and frustration. It’s important you communicate with your child and ask them how they’re feeling. You can also seek professional help if you feel your child will benefit from speaking to a professional about their feelings, such as the Barnardo’s Boloh helpline.
Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan said:
“The past year has been extremely difficult for children, as they struggle to deal with the after-effects of loss and bereavement, lockdowns, school-closures and family breakdowns. We know Muslim communities along with other minority groups have faced especially high levels of death and serious illness.
“This Eid, many Muslim children may be feeling isolated, confused or even angry when they’re unable to celebrate as a community like they used to. We’ve put together some tips and advice from our children’s mental health experts that can help you create a joyous Eid for your children within the current coronavirus guidelines.
“We also have experts who are equipped to deal with children’s complex emotions during this time, and we encourage you to make use of these services so that your children are able to talk through their problems and feelings, and learn how to cope.”
The Boloh helpline number is 08001 512605 or visit
https://helpline.barnardos.org.uk for information, and to use the webchat facility. The helpline is open from Monday to Friday between 10am and 8pm and on weekends between 10am and 3pm.
Last year around 358,000 children, young people, parents and carers were supported by Barnardo’s through more than 800 services across the UK, such as young carers, care leavers, foster carers and adoptive parents, training and skills or parenting classes. We work to transform the lives of the UK’s most vulnerable children and every year we help thousands of families to build a better future.