Eating Halal in a Non-Muslim country can be a challenge for many adults, but it is even more of a challenge for Muslim children. As schools re-open for yet another school year, eat-halal.com’s editor takes a quick look at the issue of eating Halal while at school.
By: Editor of www.eat-halal.com
It’s that time of the year again when we begin sending off our little ones to school. While attendance at Islamic schools is slowly and slowly creeping up, the fact of the matter remains that most Muslim children still attend public schools.
As someone who has attended public schools in the UK, I can tell you that making sure our children eat Halal while they’re at school is something that requires our attention. If we are to pass on Islamic values such as the importance of eating Halal to our children, we must begin at an early age.
In most public elementary schools, parties are usually held and food is brought in every once in a while to celebrate various events such as a teacher or student’s birthday, holidays (such as Halloween and Christmas), and other events.
The easy way around this situation is to instruct our children not to eat anything at school that they haven’t taken from home. However, this can be tough for young children, especially since they’ll be seeing their peers enjoying the food and they won’t be able to take part in it.
One possible solution to this and other similar situations is to sensitize the teacher about Islamic dietary guidelines. This can be done easily with the “Basic Food Guidelines for Muslims” sheet available at the Halal for Kids section.
If that doesn’t help, parents can request their child’s teacher to tell them of any parties beforehand, so that the child can be sent with Halal food for him or herself on the day of the party.
Or as in my case when I was young, parents can simply keep their child home on the day of the party.
Muslim children should be instructed not to buy foods and consumables from school cafeterias and corner stores unless they are sure that it is Halal. It’s always best to pack a lunch and snack(s) for our children, so they don’t need to look elsewhere for food while they’re gone to school.
Children should be discouraged from exchanging and asking for foods from others, and should be taught to politely refuse food given to them by others, when they’re not sure if it’s Halal or Haram.
It may seem rare that young children would care about Halal and Haram, but I have seen that even the slightest of guidance can make a difference. When my niece was in pre-school, she was once offered some chicken, but she turned it down, saying “no, I only eat Urdu chicken” (Urdu being her term for Zabihah).
If you already haven’t, I strongly encourage you to introduce your child to Halal food basics with the lessons and activities at the Halal for Kids section.
Teaching our kids what’s right and what’s wrong is our responsibility. Let’s try our best to live up to the responsibility, and remember, the earlier we begin, the more fruitful the result.
Concerns, ideas, and suggestions can all be sent directly to the eat-halal.com’s editor at firstname.lastname@example.org