Praying taraweeh brings so many blessings! Unfortunately, parents may not feel capable or comfortable bringing their children to the masjid for those long (and late) nights of prayer. Do not despair! There are ways to occupy your little ones while you pray.
Obviously, you know your child best and what is most appropriate for their needs, but some of these ideas should help through at least a few rakat.
1. Coordinate With Other Attendees
Set up a nursery area and ask for volunteers to watch the children. This would be a great way for those unable to pray to help the little ones learn about Islam while helping others. If a nursery with volunteers is not possible, take turns with other parents throughout Ramadan. This site has tips for starting a babysitting co-op.
2. Encourage Them To Join
Kids love to pretend they are adults. Encourage them to join in for at least a few rakat. For older kids, explain your expectations before going so they know to be quiet and mindful of others if they are not praying.
3. Electronic Devices
Tablets, phones and other electronic devices often get a bad reputation, but they can be the difference between a runaway toddler and peace of mind! Downloading Islamic videos or apps can help reinforce Islamic teachings while they are using the devices. Remember to pack headphones and a charger!
4. Encourage Artistic Expression
Print out coloring sheets, bring a coloring book or notepad, or pick up a roll of paper and have the kids create a masterpiece! Ask older children to play detective or journalist and write down what they see and hear and their thoughts about the night. Go over it with them later and use it as an opportunity to have a conversation!
5. Prepare For Sleepiness
Bring a favorite pillow or blanket and create a nap area. Perhaps set up playpens or baby gates to keep them from wandering off. Baby bouncers or other seats nearby will allow little ones to sleep and be close at hand.
6. Make A Busy Box or Bag
Pick up cheap plastic containers with lids or tote bags and fill them with age-appropriate and quiet items like soft blocks, colorful pom poms or cotton balls, books, fidget gadgets, stickers, finger puppets, or other small toys. Throw in some special no-mess snacks, as well!
Keep in mind that children’s attention spans vary and will be out of whack late at night. These ideas can help you get in at least a few prayers!
Edited by Tahira Ayub.