Parents should superintend children’s play — it’s an important factor
by Minna S Parks
The nature of a child’s play helps greatly in determining its mature character and capacities. Play is one of the most powerful tools by which parents can mold the plastic clay of sons and daughters from infancy.
Various types of children require different toys and games to strengthen weak but desirable traits or to curb strong, dangerous inclinations. What is good for one may be extremely bad for another.
The three fundamental temperaments, the VITAL, MOTIVE and MENTAL, were described in yesterday’s lesson.
In directing the play of the MENTAL type, remember that it is already inclined to be overstudious and too quiet for well-rounded development.
Mental children should be encouraged and even compelled to play much in the open air. They are particularly inclined to neglect their bodies and health by living too completely in the brain. They should be made to sleep a good deal and to eat more perhaps than they are inclined.
Don’t give them toys that require sustained thought or games that puzzle, since this only further exhausts their vital energy.
Be careful that they do not overstrain their usually slight, frail bodies in strenuous play, but encourage them to acquire strength and endurance carefully and gradually.
The MOTIVE is the active child, loving movement and energetic play.
More restraint may be practiced beneficially with them, but to be denied activity not only makes them miserable and cranky, but robs them of their birthright.
Destructiveness often is pronounced in the MOTIVE type. They smash-bang their way along. Constructive play should be encouraged — building with blocks, mechanical toys. Thoughtfulness should be inspired.
Boys and girls of the MOTIVE temperament often find school too slow and irksome, consequently it is difficult for them to complete school. They are eager to get out into the workaday bustle of life.
Pains should be taken to curb their over restlessness, though it must be carefully restrained lest they become rebellious. Let them spend their energies on something worth while. This type likes to work and can early be trained that work is a joy.
The tendency is for the muscles to dominate the brain. Teach them to plan and play more leisurely — to look before they leap.
The MENTAL-MOTIVE combination — to which most American children belong — is alert, active, versatile and full of fine promise.
But the danger is that this type constantly over-exerts itself, the MOTIVE relentlessly driving the MENTAL. Ill health is a frequent result. This type frequently matures too rapidly. Keep such children BABIES as long as possible and don’t aid in making them little OLD men and women before their time.
The VITAL type, loving to eat, sleep and loaf, is inclined to be too inactive. Self-indulgence is their weakness and should be restrained lest they become intemperate later on. Such children should be encouraged to study more and to play active, outdoor games.
Parents should in play early curb the VITAL’S natural selfishness and teach it to share its toys and pleasures with other youngsters.
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Publication: The Day Book (Chicago, Ill.)
Publication date: January 3, 1917