In the busy month of Ramadan, the change in routine, long nights and parents diverting their attention to worshiping Allah can all result in children going off track and difficult behavior at the Masjid. For the parent it is hard to focus on worship with the judgmental comments around how you are not controlling your children and the constant worry about whether they are going to behave while you pray.
In the tradition of the Prophet SAW children were allowed in the Masjid, and his example was one of patience and calm with their behavior. What we find happening is parents being excluded from the Ramadan programs because they have children, either because they have experienced criticism or they are concerned that they will be ostracized for their children’s behavior.
On the flip side, it is understandable that other worshippers are upset by the disturbance of children at the Masjid when they are trying to peacefully connect with Allah.
So what is the solution, how can we emulate the ways of the Prophet SAW and make mothers and children welcome at the Masjid during Ramadan?
Preventing difficult behaviors in children at the Masjid
The solution begins at home long before leaving. During our rushing around to prepare Iftah, praying, eating and then getting everyone ready and out the door for Tarawih there is little time for connecting with children so that they are feeling on track, loved and connected with you. Instead, children are feeling rushed, off track and disconnected which is a recipe for difficult behavior when they arrive and their parents try to establish their worship of Allah.
When children feel disconnected they are unable to think well and their behavior will go off track. This disconnection can progress to the point they have big feelings that will most likely result in crying and trantrums at the worst possible time for the parent.
Here are some things you can do to turn that around:
- Spend one on one time with your child before you leave, especially earlier in the day before the busy time of breaking fast and getting out the door commences.
- Stay connected with your child through good eye contact, warm loving words and playful attention, as you are getting ready to leave.
- Maintain your warm, loving presence throughout your time at the Masjid.
Investing time in connecting with our children before we go out and then maintaining that connection is much easier than dealing with the resulting crying and tantruming once you arrive.
When a child has reached the point of crying and tantruming they really need their parent’s loving attention while they release the stored up tension they have. It is difficult to do this at the Masjid, so if we see our child is going to need us to be there for them, then perhaps that isn’t the right time for us to be going out. Staying home and helping our child can also be an act of worship. As the Prophet SAW taught us, there is a time for this and a time for that.