Admit it – when you are in the middle of taraweeh prayer, or any prayer, and all of the sudden you hear a kid screaming, crying or making a raucous, you can’t stop thinking about how irritating that is rather than focusing on your prayer. The mom or dad of the child screaming is usually embarrassed and one of them may have to sacrifice not coming to taraweeh the next time so some people don’t lecture them on how their child messed up the tranquility of their prayer.
Here are some tips for parents interested in taking their toddlers, babies or young children to taraweeh. Ponn: I applied all these tips below, alhumdulilah. I pray you experience as much success as I have with them, inshaAllah. I am particularly partial to #1-4.
Top Taraweeh Tips for Taking Kids to the Masjid
- Immediately attend to your child/ren whenever the slightest noise, whimper or cry occurs. It’s Sunnah to take your kids with you to prayer at the masjid. The Rasul sallahi wa alayhi wa salam himself allowed kids to sleep on or around him during prayer, and he also shortened prayer when he heard a child was crying. However, you must understand that taraweeh is lengthy, therefore shortening a juz is not an option for the Imam. You are allowed to walk away from the line of salah to hold, rock or attend to a crying baby. Return expeditiously only after the child is cared for. Have comfort knowing that attending to your needy child/ren is fadh, and taraweeh in congregation is sunnah. Therefore, gain the rewards of your ibadah that is prescribed for you.
- Opt for the sisters and children area for prayer. Don’t take offense to this area. Take pride that your masjid made this allowance out of your respect for your family’s needs rather than a punishment. If your masjid offers this additional secluded space, it’s typically much more conducive to a growing family with little ones and with kids around there’s typically a more refreshing breeze, alhumdulilah.
- Remember, the Masjid is not a babysitting facility. You can’t just take your children to the masjid, and allow your kids to play freely and go unattended. It is your responsibility to assure the purity of the masjid, such as kids’ dirty shoes when walking or running around directly in the prayer area.
- Have your kids pray taraweeh with and without you. If a child is old enough, he or she should pray a couple of taraweeh rakats. Even if they pray two or four rakats, that is fine. Ponn: MashaAllah, I have pictures of my girls praying taraweeh in line with women when they were 3 and 4 years old. At this sign of maturity, we opt to go to Taraweeh even when I wasn’t praying because they wanted to gain the rewards of praying Taraweeh in the masjid. MashaAllah, hubby even started taking the girls alone at 5, 7 & 8 years old; which means he’s separated from them. To date, no one questioned our confidence that our girls would not be a nuisance. The only comments hubby and I ever received were, “MashaAllah, they were able to pray longer than me/some/many.” MashaAllah.
- Take your child’s favorite paper books to read. Books are always safe because they’re easy to pack, don’t make noise (well most of them don’t), and are easily accessible.
- Technology is a great way to keep young children entertained at taraweeh. Give them your Smartphone or tablet to play with some kid-friendly and Islamic apps for iPhone and Droid. There are many kid-friendly apps- games, trivia and puzzles. Just make sure the volume is turned off.
- Make sure to pack snacks and water for your child. Taraweeh can be up to two hours, so packing a healthy mess-free snack is always a good idea. Try nuts, fruit snacks, granola bars. Try to stay away from sticky foods and foods that might make crumbs or stains.
- Pack your child’s favorite quiet toys and activities to play quietly with others. Masjid-appropriate toys can be cars, blocks, dolls, some board games and flash cards they can play with friends in the back. Activity books, coloring books, fun workbooks available at the dollar store, that Ponn would typically purchase and give new each night or week. It’s important to make sure they keep their voices low out of respect for the recitation of the Qur’an.
- Reward good ibadah and behavior. Tell your kids if they are well-behaved, and pray some rakats, you will give them a treat after taraweeh or the next day. Rewarding kids for good behavior every single day works wonders–and is considered sadaqah given to family, inshaAllah.
- At the beginning of Ramadan, make a taraweeh sheet with your children. Put a star down for every rakah they pray, and at the end of the week count up the stars and give them a treat based on how many stars they accumulated: the more stars the better. Give them stars if they are too young to pray, but for each time they are well-behaved. Ponn: Note: I never did a star-per-rakat (which sounds like a great tip, and would have had I thought of it. ). However, I did do the good behavior, and we continue to mark Taraweeh to this day. However, the only way to get the “group star” is that they work together and pray all rakats as sisters to they motivate one another to reach this momentous goal, inshaAllah.
- Active monitoring, breaks and limitations dependent on each individual child. For some kids, it is absolutely difficult to sit still or quiet for a couple of minutes, especially children with ADHD, autism, or special needs. In between taraweeh prayers, have your kid stand up and stretch, or go get a drink of water together. Know your child/ren’s temperaments, and attend to their needs and desires first.
- Ask successful moms at the masjid for their tips! Never shy away from prime advice especially if you see it happening before your own eyes. When you see a Muslim sister accomplishing what you want for yourself and your family, just ask. Ponn: I learned some of these tips from successful sisters before me, mashaAllah. May Allah bless us all for our humble actions to help ourselves, our families, and our ummah to become true believers eager to please You and Only You, Ya Allah. Ameen.
What are some other taraweeh tips you have? How do you keep your children well-behaved during taraweeh prayers?