This Ramadan I didn't get the opportunity to go to the mosque often as I have young kids, Alhamdulilah. It gets difficult for me to concentrate and for others too when I take them to the mosque. So I prefer praying at home, when they're in bed. I really envy the parents who have children who are so well behaved at the mosque and pray that inshaAllah when my children are old enough they're the same and aren't among those who run around and cause havoc!
Here's what I have to say -
Firstly, it is among the etiquettes of going to the masjid to avoid everything that has an offensive smell like garlic, onion or smoking. Unfortunately, everytime during taraweh prayer you'd have someone burp and let out an offensive smell from what they have eaten during their iftaar. I know it's not easy to avoid such foods (especially if you're indian ;)) but it doesn't take much time to brush your teeth (or even better - use miswak) and change your clothes and apply some 'atar before you leave for the masjid, inshaAllah.
Sahih Bukhari - Volume 1, Book 12, Number 814:Secondly, people who'd enter late after the salah has started would hasten to join the rakah and run to stand next to a praying person in the jamah. The Prophet (pbuh) forbade running in such a situation. It is very disturbing when someone does this, especially when you're the unlucky person they decide to stand next to. They aren't even ready to begin their salah and their movements are a huge distraction.
Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah: The Prophet said, "Whoever eats garlic or onion should keep away from our mosque or should remain in his house." (Jabir bin 'Abdullah, in another narration said, "Once a big pot containing cooked vegetables was brought. On finding unpleasant smell coming from it, the Prophet asked, 'What is in it?' He was told all the names of the vegetables that were in it. The Prophet ordered that it should be brought near to some of his companions who were with him. When the Prophet saw it he disliked to eat it and said, 'Eat. (I don't eat) for I converse with those whom you don't converse with (i.e. the angels)."
Imam Bukhari and Muslim reported that the prophet (pbuh) said: "If the prayer started, then do not join it running, and join it walking and quiet, and pray whatever you caught up with, and make up for what you missed."Thirdly, many of us have forgotten the sunnah of praying two rakah before sitting down when you enter the masjid. I see very few people do this nowdays.
Imam Bukhari and Muslim reported that the prophet (pbuh) said: "When one of you enters the Masjid, he should pray two Rak'ah before sitting down."Lastly, I have seen a lot of people get irritated when people bring young children to the mosque. I know it's not very easy to concentrate in your salah when you have children running around and making noise. I had a bad experience myself a few Ramadan's back when I took my first born to the masjid. I guess it will suffice to say that I was told off by the Imam over the microphone in front of EVERYONE to mind my daughter and not disturb everyone in their salah :( I was heartbroken and didn't go to the masjid after that for a long time. I am yet to pray in Jamah again...
Personally I feel people should be a bit more forgiving in such circumstances. If we do not take our children to the mosque how do you expect them to learn the adab of being in a mosque? The Prophet (pbuh) used to have his grand-children in the mosque and even shortened his prayer if he heard a child crying. It is very important to raise our children with a strong attachment and love for their religion, and community, and thus it is important for them to have a strong and positive attachment to the mosque from a young age, especially in non-Muslim environments.
In regards to them being a distraction during salah, you could always have someone who is not praying (eg. having their menses) to mind the children and keep them away from the prayer area. Even taking art supplies such as paper, textas etc to keep them occupied would be a good idea.
I've seen a lot of people go off at a child when they misbehave in the mosque. It is important to remember that children are innocent and sinless. Thus, we cannot reprimand them harshly: this may make them dislike mosques and maybe even their religion, na aouzobillah. Rather, we should treat them with gentleness and mercy, though being firm when needed.
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, "Those who do not have mercy for our young and respect for our elders is not of us." [Tirmidhi]