The motherly Kak Mamamia has suggested an entry on tips to bring kids for Umrah after reading my entry about Umrah trip a few weeks back. Frankly speaking, I am not the best person to write about this. I shall write a few things that I've done and hope others who have experienced bringing the kids there to contribute in the comment section. I hope there'll be generous contributors. Otherwise, I may need to write another entry after doing some research on this matter ;).
Many people said the kids would disturb your ibadah. Yes and no is very much depending on the age of the kids I guess. If you have a toddler like Shahmey (10 1/2 months then), it may disturb a bit. No problem with the Umrah itself but it was a problem for me to perform jemaah prayer in the Masjid because I had to take care of him while letting Abang to join the prayer. I had no choice since Shahmey is on breastfeeding. It has been a while that I didn't store any pumped milk. So, I had to bring him along.
As for Sophea and Sobhan, it was a practice to them. Of course, they asked many questions like,
"Kenapa kena pusing 7 kali?"
"Kena angkat tangan dan cium - apa sebab?"
"Apa ada dalam kaabah?"
I had to answer them patiently and with the precise answer. Not to mention their moaning of "penatlah", "panasnya", "haus", "lapar". I just had to tell them to be patient as that was part of the challenge to perform the Umrah.
However, they managed to follow through the Umrah with us. I had to carry Shahmey (sometimes abang did). Abang had to alternately carry Sophea and Sobhan when both were tired (that happened during Saei - despite it was done under the roof and it was pretty cozy). It was all okay when they tawaf though (under the strong sun - we did the tawaf at about 2.00pm!).
Considering all the above, I may suggest a few things here to Kak Mamamia and others who may want to bring their kids there:
- Bring a small sling bag that contains extra clothing for you - just in case your baby throw up on your clothes and extra clothes for the kids (it's easy for the kids to get dirty especially when many generous visitors like to give sweets and candies to them).
- Make sure your babies / toddlers diapers is almost dry (not too heavy) because if it does, the leakage may dirty your clothing.
- Prepare a bottle of plain water in your bag because the kids may be thirsty (zam zam water stations are not that far from the kaabah and also located at a few places along the Saei area anyway). Just in case your kids can't wait to reach the place, the water that you bring along is helpful.
- Brief the kids about the Umrah beforehand. Perhaps, let them memorize a few simple doa so that they are occupied with uttering the doa instead of complaining. By briefing the kids about the action that we have to do in performing the Umrah, they roughly can gauge when the Umrah will be settled. Thus, they won't repeat the question like "Bila nak habis?" and make you feel annoyed.
- Teach the kids to behave themselves in the holy land. This is actually to avoid us (the parents) from scolding or hitting them. Whatever we say, do or even plan to is a serious matter there. I heard people said this and I also experienced them myself.
- Always make sure your kids are with you all the time. Never let them wander around without you. This was advised by my husband's friends that in Mekah there are many child kidnappers. They would take your child and do things that you don't even wanna think of.
- Last but not least, watch your mind and words because anything bad that you think or say may be granted. Always be positive and say something good. Don't ever think of "nanti tak jumpa selipar ni". Alhamdulillah, we managed to get to our shoes back (with the help of Sophea - she recognized which entrance we came in from - thanks kakak!).
I guess that's all that I can share with all of you. I really hope my friends can contribute with a few other tips. Thank you in advance :)