Ramadan is a time for spiritual reflection, self-improvement, and increased worship. For most Muslims, this includes attending taraweeh prayers at the mosque. And for parents of young children, taraweeh can be a whole other ballgame. Trying to pray with a toddler in tow can feel like a Herculean task, with distractions aplenty and a constant battle to keep them quiet. In this post, we’ll take a humorous look at the five stages of grief parents may experience while attempting taraweeh with toddlers. So if you’ve ever found yourself chasing your little one around the prayer hall instead of focusing on your worship, this one’s for you.
- Denial: You’re excited for Taraweeh with your toddler. You want to raise them to be people who are connected to salah. You’ve got the snacks, the toys, and water, and everything else you need to keep them entertained for the next hour or so. You confidently walk into the mosque, feeling like a super mom. “This is going to be a piece of cake,” you tell yourself.
- Anger: Three minutes into the first rakah, your toddler starts getting antsy. They start kicking and chatting and pulling the hijab of others or climb the back of others in sujood, and you feel your blood boil. “Why can’t they just sit still?!” you think to yourself. You start to get angry at your toddler, at yourself, and at the entire situation.
- Bargaining: You start bargaining with your toddler. “If you sit still for just one more rakah, I’ll give you a whole bag of sweets” you plead. You remind them of boundaries set before but they don’t seem to remember. You try everything to get them to calm down and behave, but nothing seems to work.
- Depression: At this point, you’ve given up. You’re feeling defeated and depressed. You look around the mosque and see other parents with their well-behaved children, and you can’t help but feel like a failure. The glaring eyes dont make it any easier and you start to wonder if you’re a bad parent and if you’ll ever be able to enjoy Taraweeh again.
- Acceptance: Finally, after what feels like an eternity, Taraweeh ends. It is time for a deep breath of relief and you realize that you’ve made it through. You accept that Taraweeh with a toddler is just going to be difficult, and that’s okay. You smile and feel a sense of accomplishment knowing that you ALL survived.
Taraweeh with toddlers can sometimes feel like going through the five stages of grief. First comes denial, as you naively convince yourself that your little one will quietly sit through the lengthy prayers. Then comes anger, as your toddler decides to play peekaboo during the quietest parts of the night. Bargaining follows, as you try to bribe them with snacks and toys, only to have them throw a tantrum mid-rakah. Depression sets in as you realize you’re only on the second of eight or in some cases, twenty taraweeh raka’ats. And finally, acceptance, as you resign yourself to the fact that your taraweeh experience will involve chasing your child up and down the mosque. But hey, at least you’re burning some calories, right?
Just remember, you’re not alone. May Allah grant ease.
In the hadith about the those who will be under the shade of Allah on a day when there is no shade, two are most relevant here…
“A youth who grew up in the worship of Allah and one whose heart is attached to the mosques”
So this is the work.
And to whom it may concern, a reminder….
The Messenger ﷺ said, “Those who do not have mercy for our young and respect for our elders is not of us.” [Tirmidhi]