When one thinks of children, you automatically think of younger ones, however keep in mind that if you have children that have reached the age of puberty, you should seriously consider taking them with you for Hajj if you are able to do so. This fulfils their duty of performing their Fardh Hajj, and you will be rewarded for having provided them with this opportunity.
Abdullah bin Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: During the Farewell Pilgrimage journey a lady brought her child before the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) and inquired whether the child's Hajj was valid. The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) replied,
"Yes, and you will get a reward as well." (Muslim)
Hajj is not compulsory for a child. When he/she reaches puberty it is still obligatory upon him/her, even if he/she has already performed it as a child.
The child should wear Ihraam and the niyah can be made by the parent.
It is acceptable to carry the child on your shoulders during tawaaf and sa'ee.
It is commendable if the child is able to complete all the rites. However, there is no penalty if certain rites or pillars are missed. The parent can also complete the rites on behalf of the child, such as the ramy of the jamr'at. (The parents should pelt their 7 pebbles first, followed by the 7 for the child.)
Many pilgrims take children and infants with them on Hajj. The children can either be a pleasure or a very big distraction for you during Hajj.
Many pilgrims do not have a choice and this is understandable. There is reward in taking care of them. However, if you have a choice, I suggest you leave them with some family members, especially if it is your fardh Hajj.
It can be very hot and infants and children get restless. You may end up spending a lot of time taking care of them and you will not be able to concentrate on your Ibadah.
Never take small children or infants with you to stone the jamr'at.
Once you are in Makkah, rest yourself and the children before performing Umrah. Remember children also suffer from jetlag, and will make your Umrah very stressful if they are tired and miserable. So let them sleep and eat first. There is no rush. The Umrah will take in excess of two hours and the distance of sa'ee alone is about 3.5km.
You can go to the Haram with your stroller, but you will have to leave it outside. Put the stroller behind or on top of the shoe racks outside the Haram doors.
You are allowed to rest during tawaaf and sa'ee, and it is acceptable to carry the children on your shoulders.
You may consider getting a wheelchair, see chapter 8, to push the children in.
Once you have completed your tawaaf, you and your partner can take turns in performing the two rak'at salah, while the other minds the children.
The mosque gets very crowded, so you should take care of toddlers and babies in the crowds. Babies that crawl, should either be watched by a toddler or tied to you, during salah. You may use a harness like belt or just a normal scarf to ensure baby does not crawl too far. Give them some room to move around, otherwise they will cry and cause a bigger distraction.
Warn toddlers not to wander off during salah.
If you do plan to take them to the Haram often, dress them in their brightly coloured clothes so they are easily recognisable in a crowd.
Always pin an identification tag on them.
The business card of your hotel is also useful to keep in their pocket.
Explain to them the procedure they should follow if they are lost and show them the lost children's section which used to be at door no 13.
Alternatively, teach them to stay (wait) in one place in the event they get lost.
Same rules as those of adults apply in relation to acts of Ibadah.
Assist them to prepare for the journey, keeping in mind that the needs and interests of teenagers are different from adults.
A companion, such as a sibling or a friend will be of great value if they can also accompany them.
Save some of that patience for them. Many times you may get upset and annoyed that they do not find this journey as exciting and spiritual as you, and they may even complain about being bored. You may even feel that you have wasted your money. Don't, the results may not show immediately as you would hope, but believe me, it is a good lesson for them. Don't stress out, this is part of teenage hood.
Don't take too many clothes, as it is easy to wash and dry your clothes in Makkah.
Despite the heat, it is advisable to dress them modestly, especially when going to the mosque.
Encourage the girls to wear hijab, even though they may not have reached puberty yet. This is a good chance for you to get them use to it.
The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) advised us that we should encourage our children to perform salah from the age of 7 and start disciplining/punishing them at the age of 10 if they do not perform salah. So heed this advice and don't let the children be an excuse for not going to the mosque, instead let them frequent the mosque.
Most airlines have special meals for children. If you are not flying with an airline that normally serves all Halal food, and you have booked Halal meals for yourself, then double-check with the airline if the children's meals are also Halal. Most of the time the children's meals are not Halal, hence you may have to take your own food. Take some potato chips, biscuits and some sandwiches for the children, just in case.
Also take some sweets or chewing gum for them to chew on, during take-off and landing, to minimise earache.
Diapers are readily available, but take enough for the journey and for at least a few extra days. I suggest you take more than what you would normally use in a day, as babies are prone to diarrhoea when travelling.
Take baby food, bottles, milk, and medicine (especially for pain and fever). Do not rely on getting baby food on the plane as it is not always Halal.
Take enough clothes for the baby. Keep at least two sets of clothes for the baby in your hand luggage.
Also a change of clothes for the toddlers in your hand luggage is a good idea. Pack some brightly coloured clothes.
For infants it is best to give them some painkiller medicine about half an hour before take-off and landing.
If you are breastfeeding, wear appropriate clothes that will facilitate easy breastfeeding on the plane.
Take a stroller, but not a bulky one. Although the stroller can get in the way sometimes in the crowds, most times it is of great value.
Take toys and books to keep them occupied during the journey. Do not take too many toys, as there are plenty of cheap toys to buy in Makkah. The little ones get bored very quickly on the plane and your nerves will be tested, so be patient.
Let the children use the bathroom in the plane prior to landing, to avoid toilet trips while queuing at immigration or customs.
Children also tend to fall asleep at the “worst” possible times, so you may have to carry them. Meaning you should try to minimise hand luggage.
Book a bassinet for the baby on the plane, and don't forget to reconfirm it prior to your flight. During check-in make sure that you are allocated the bassinet seats. So check-in early.