Tips for Parents When Taking Kids to the Masjid for Taraweeh

Delhi, IndiaAdmit 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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?

Creative Commons License photo credit: travelmeasia

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  1. Holly says

    MashaAllah This is THE BEST post about this I have read by far!!

    May Allah reward you!!! Ameen.

    Usually they are ALL bashing the moms because children cry for twelve seconds or the moms are bashing those who choose to not hear their child.

    I’m happy to see such a wonderful post MashaAllah. I shared it.

    • says

      MashaAllah, jazaka Allahu Khayrun.

      I can NOT agree with you more. This is obviously one of MANY things I’m impassioned by, first and foremost it is our responsibility to educate all sides of the sunnah, then act accordingly and speak/write with tack withOUT a defensive tone. Certain levels of sarcasm can be very patronizing.

      May Allah bless us all, accept our fasts and prayers. Ameen.

    • says

      THank you for your comments Holly! I was reminded by a lecture I listened to the other day, that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was so gentle with everyone — kids included–even when praying! There’s the one story when there was a little kid climbing on op of his back and head while the prophet was leading prayer and making sujood. He made the sujood extra longer so the child can finish playing and people were worried that he was down there for so long! Subhnallah! He is so merciful indeed.

  2. says

    Salam Alaykum

    Ramadan Mubarak! This is a very insightful article. I’m fortunate that my children are older now and they want to pray with baba (they are boys).

    • says

      Wa-alaykum salam,

      Ramadan Mubarak as well! Jazaka Allahu Khayrun, we work hard to only published empowering articles, alhumdulilah.

      And, mubarak for your sons’ age and dedication to our pryaers.

    • says

      Thank you HijabSavvy! Time flies by doesn’t it? I remember when I was 9 and would stand next to mom and pray during taraweeh (I would choose a place next to the wall so I can lean on it ;-))I love seeing kids praying next to their moms and dads — it really warms my heart mashAllah!

  3. says

    What advice would you give when faced with moms who choose not to pay attention to their children? Sadly in our masjid there are a few that allow their children to run rampant, scream, cry, talk loudly etc not just during tahraweh but jumaa prayers. I know several of us have tried to occupy the child(ren) but it takes away from our experience either way.

    • says

      Alhumdulilah, you have me stumped, but my 11 yo just said “Mama, everyone knows you…you’re either the older one (urgh ;-) ]…I mean respected one… (hmm..) I mean the one everyone listens to & loves (mashaAllah), so you always smile and go up and say (while putting my hand on their shoulder, hand, thigh, just giving a personal touch of calm & peace) “my dear sister, or habiti, please…” and motion to their kids. If I know the kids, which many times I do I call their name “Jon, please…”smile and motion them to come to me and their mother, and most of the time, the mother looks to be to talk to them. I always share the sunnah, the real little ones, I hug and kiss, and even invite them to sit with me and my girls on 1 condition, that you act like our Rasul…like who?? okay, “try to be more quiet and sit more still than my girls”.

      Now, I asked my daughters, but we travel all over the and don’t always (rarely, really) know the mothers and kids, this is when I do the very same…but I start with the kids, smile, and motion them to my girls, and challenge them to sit with us with our rules, and if accomplished at the end of prayer, there’ll be a reward. I never go to the masjid without treats to share. The mutual respect I gain from the negligent moms come from the fact that I can have 3 well-behaved praying daughters by my side, mashaAllah.

      InshaAllah, there’s definitely enough to write a blogpost on, but in thinking a bit more, 1 thing my girls & I learned during these very trying/disturbing moments, it’s very easy to sigh (which is actually unacceptable in Islam), roll your eyes (which is disrespectful and obviously an action associated with a judgement, ie. frustration, or the “whatever” & “oh come on already” attitudes), or make some kind of facial expression or gesture that’s not positive for your inner peace or to the already pre-occupied mother. So, my #1 Tip is always recall the hadith about giving our Muslim brothers & sisters 70 excuses, and just offer to help for the sake of Allah, and for your own peace and that of your family.

      While of course it’s not your duty to take care of anyone else’s kids, when you know almost definitely that the pre-occupied mother is probably in fact in ideal talk, intentionally staying away from her kids to socialize and run around, here’s the excuse I use “think of the boy who called wolf”, inshaAllah, the 1 time you don’t help and that particular sister is actually in a health/personal/family crisis and is actually seeking Islamic counsel and advise and is SO intense in conversation b/c the advise must be critical for her health & well-being.

      I can literally name ~70 excuses, most I learned the hard way, that in fact some mothers are really not good at it, they don’t have the education, means or support to learn how to better manage their kids–literally. Rather than feeling saddened or even resentful to this fact, its our duty to reach out and help. MashaAllah, I know MANY sisters who’s only way/time out of the house all week/month is to just go to the masjid. So, that’s their only contact with outside people; not only do they socialize so much to make up for lost time, but I’ve counseled moms with “how to socialize” because they actually lack basic social skills of tact, patience, and don’t know how to get out of the “this-is-my-time-listen-to-me-and-only-me-I-have-no-time-to-listen-to-you” syndrome.

      I contemplated my above humble advise and my girls recalled a couple of clear examples, when a sister just came up to me who I never saw before and said “I feel like I can trust you…you look so approachable…I’ve never went up to someone like this before…but watching you with your girls…will you please answer these questions for me…”. MashaAllah. Honored, humbled and at awe, my girls and I sat down with her at length and answered many of the unknown excuses, most prominently was “there’s really no one else I feel like I can trust here” (at the masjid)…and mashaAllah I was a total stranger!

      My older 2 girls never forgot that day, nor I. This was when we 1st moved back to CT, so they were 5 and 4 yo. So, there is a way to touch someone with care, not first with your hands, or eyes, but with your heart and your example how giving you are to your kids, and in turn you emulate what others want to give to theirs. And, if they are too pre-occupied to notice, and you still notice their kids, give your time to Allah, help that child with caring discipline and love, and the mother will see how you handle things, which does not include a public display of displeasure, frustration, anger and be the resentful feeling that mother will feel when a total stranger (even at the masjid) is talking to their kids. I’ve yet to talk to a kid or a mother at a masjid and I was not welcomed for my kind advice.

      Always, always, always remember the Rasul sallahi walayhi wasalam never ever raised his voice. He instructed with care, tact and gentleness. He epitomized perfect social skills. He exemplified loving leadership with just enough force to empower people to change. He is our role model…and although I’m FAR from having a fraction of his perfect skills; I work hard at doing my best. And, as the flaw being that I am, I’m never at my best when I am tired, weak, or ill. So, tip #2, make sure you have your strength when going to the masjid. LOL ;-) No really: Half the test of gaining the hasanats of going to the masjid is first dealing with this social setting of various people and optimizing our own social skills.

      But, then remember, Allah tests most, those he loves most; and surviving moments of sickness, illness, etc. sins may be forgiven. So, all these tests are worth it, alhumdulilah.

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