We took the kids to the Gurdwara as usual at the weekend and everything was ok until about 5 minutes after we sat down in the Divaan. That’s when toddler decides she wants to run around and baby wants to play with toys the kids in front were playing with, must be the Prashaad effect. After numerous quiet attempts to settle toddler we shift to the Langhar hall. Now the Langhar hall is a big open space and kids love open spaces so as soon as you enter there is no stopping’ em. As we enter our toddler takes a big excited sprint into the middle of nowhere, turns to look at my unimpressed face whilst ushering them to come back but of course she just laughs and goes for another sprint followed by spins, more sprints and dodging all the sangat doing seva and having Langhar. Yep Prashaad gives you wings!
Finally DaddySingh (the husband) sits down to have his Langhar but toddler with ants in her pants can’t sit down so bops around whilst taking bites of roti. I come along with my Langhar to sit down and baby dives her hand in to the dhaal. DaddySingh grabs the arm whilst I dive for wet wipes and clean her hands before she gets a Mirchy mouth (now that would have been a nightmare). Before you know it toddlers up and about again and my husbands reminding her to be careful and just for a split second looks the other way to say hi to a friend when suddenly,
Crash! Cling-Clang! Waaaaaa!
As i turn quickly I see our toddler on the floor crying with Langhar all over her and the floor and then baby had reached my Langhar and was going for the subji but I managed to quickly swipe her away, give her a bit of roti to keep her occupied and grab the wipes from my bag with out even looking for it to clean up the mess (mummy skills *lifts arm to show non existent biceps).
Whilst the Sangat looked over with a mixture of expressions we calmly addressed the issue and settled down our toddler. DaddySingh then took toddler out of the Langhar hall and I was left with the responsibility of eating all the left over Langhar (…no comment).
This happens to many of us, whether you go to the Gurdwara with the kids regularly or even just when invited to a wedding, all is going as well as can be expected and suddenly the kids go crazy but what do you do and how do you avoid these disasters? Well unfortunately toddlers and babies are unpredictable and don’t come with an off/mute button so there is no 100% guarantee they won’t play up in some sort of way, especially if you’re going to be at the Gurdwara for a while. However here are my tips on how to make it easier along the way:
Plan and Time
Try and plan ahead for when you are going as this will help you get everything organised in advance and minimise the craziness.
Determine how you are going to get there because the journey is just as important. Stressed out, upset and tired children is not an ideal way to arrive at any event.
Finally work out what time you will be going and arriving, will it be nap time, lunch time, do they need to go potty? All these add to the possibilities of a tantrum or misbehaviour.
Pack Snacks and a Drink
Whether you are going for a quick visit or an all day function, it’s always a good idea to have some good healthy snacks your children can have either on the journey or at the Gurdwara. Now there will always be Langhar, however children have a mind of their own so may play up and refuse the roti. There is always the situation where you’re in the middle of a prayer and the kids want food, if you have the snacks they can get away with having them and plus it’ll hopefully make them sit quietly, for a little bit longer anyway.
Take a quiet toy/activity
This one is great for the younger children. Toddlers do have a short attention span and naturally have bags of energy and therefore unable to sit still for too long. So taking some toys or favourite activity with you can help them stay calm and sitting for a bit longer. Do makes sure these are quiet toys as you don’t want to interrupt the prayers or keertan.
Pack spare clothes
There will always be messy disasters so you can’t go wrong with having a spare outfit, doesn’t have to be the whole wardrobe and you can always leave it in the car or to one side until you actually need it.
Have Langhar early
Especially if you’re at a wedding or a prayer with a lot of Sangat, children can get tired and over stimulated and often we mistake this for misbehaviour. Sitting still is hard work for children, especially when they are very young so taking them to have Langhar or stretch out their legs is a great idea to help them stay calm.
This is arguably the best option and I see many Penji’s and Aunty Ji’s do this all the time. You just go to the Gurdwara and not take anything with you, this will mean your children have no choice but to get stuck in to Gurdwara etiquette but if you don’t want to take the risk or you just know your kids won’t settle then not taking anything with you may not be an option.
Above all stay calm Mummys and Daddy’s, we all know it can be hard work and frustrating running around children and trying to get them to follow what we need to do at Gurdwara. If it gets all too much, take a second and grab some water and of course start again.
Of course regular visits will result in kids learning gurdwara etiquette quickly but don’t worry all parents go through it and all children get there eventually!
I hope you enjoyed my post and found my tips helpful. If you have any more tips to help all the Mummys and Daddy’s out there, please do share them below.
Disclaimer: Prashaad is the BEST!