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My 6-Year-Old: How Much Active Time is Enough?

Questioner

N (32_female_Malaysia)

Reply Date

Jan 08, 2018

Question

How much active time is enough? I have a six-year-old boy. Should he spend an hour a day being physically active? Two hours? What about when he gets older?

Counselor

Answer


As-Salamu ‘Alaykum,

Can you remember when you were six years old? Can you remember any period around that age group? Developmental needs differ from child to child, but there are some fundamental stages that we must all go through before we are ready to move on to the next stage of our development. Each stage prepares us for the next, and missing out a stage only becomes an impediment in tarbia (parenting) and self-development.

There is a greater sense of independence physically as a six year old becomes less dependent on others to do things. They want to show off their new found freedom and show you what they can do, for instance, hand-stands, the ability to ride a bicycle, etc. Sometimes, they can become a little over confident so if they fail, just show them how (as long as the activity is not dangerous of course), as this is an important part of not only their physical development, but their emotional development, too!

Forming friendships is important to them; therefore being able to play with friends is an important channel for both their physical as well as social development. It is also important for them to do the right thing as they have a greater sense of differentiating right from wrong.

Your child has probably been at schools for one year. If your son is attending the kind of school that sees the child as an empty vessel to be filled with information (knowledge), with students behind a desk and the teacher forever at the front of the classroom, there will be many reasons your son is restless after school. So, one or two hours a day physical activity is far from adequate for a healthy child full of stamina.

Having one child can be very demanding on a parent. In fact, it is more demanding than have two children who can facilitate each other’s’ need to play, talk, socialize and learn. Try to make sure that there is balance between their physical, social and mental needs as at this time there is greater mental development as well. With their growing awareness of the their environment, their learning process should be fun and practical as the learning process is best aided and abetted by making knowledge active. Just like Islam tries to teach us!




About Hwaa Irfan

Late Hwaa Irfan, may her soul rest in peace, served as consultant, counselor and freelance writer. Her main focus was on traditional healing mechanisms as practiced in various communities, as opposed to Western healing mechanisms.

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