“Turning Children Around”–Chapter 9 of “The Well Balanced Child”

In the beginning of this book, many readers asked, “Yes! I see these problems in my own children, but what do I DO about it?”  Hopefully, this chapter will help answer some of those questions.

The first thing to consider is PLAY.  The  book goes into scenarios of how movement and play improved not only  learning, but also societal skills and decreases criminal activity in children.

From page 132, “ Play networks may help stitch individuals into the social fabric that is the staging grounds for their lives….Under conditions of social isolation, separation, hunger, fear, anger, or anxiety, play activity is markedly reduced or absent.”

Carrie here:   If you have children ages 3 and up who are not “playing well”, I think there are several things to consider:  what is the atmosphere of the home (ie, does the child feel stable on an emotional and spiritual level?); does the child feel stable in space and know where they are in space ( in some cases I have directly observed,  I feel children who “cling” to their parents are children who don’t know where they are in space and need more work to get in their bodies), and also do they know HOW to play.  A small child is an imitator and may need you to set up play scenarios and help show them how to play, along with showing them meaningful adult work.  Don’t forget these back posts that could be helpful:  https://theparentingpassageway.com/2008/10/29/more-about-fostering-creative-play/  and this one:  https://theparentingpassageway.com/2008/10/05/fostering-creative-play/  and this one:  https://theparentingpassageway.com/2011/06/28/guest-post-meaningful-work-for-toddlers/  and this one:  https://theparentingpassageway.com/2011/06/29/more-about-how-to-create-meaningful-work-for-toddlers/

“Something happens to attention, behaviour, and motivation when children and young people become active.” says page 133 and talks about the problem of play spaces in many major towns and cities.  Children need experiences in not only places like a playground, which provides vestibular stimulation, but in nature and not “well-ordered” spaces.  Recent studies have shown children under the age of 12 (and this is Carrie here, this is not in the book) need to PLAY 3-4 hours a day and I would argue that this needs to be in WILD spaces where the children can just be free.  From page 135, “A wilderness of long grass, trees, ditches, and stones opens up endless possibilities for games of hide and seek, building a den, being marooned in a jungle, or surviving on a desert island.”

Even in schools, spending as little as ten to fifteen minutes a day on movement gave dramatic improvement.  From page 137, “Education should be a continuous process of sensory as as intellectual training, not an environment for sensory atrophy (sitting still all day long).”  Do you all love that quote as much as I do?

The last part of the chapter is dedicated to the results of the use of the Reflex Stimulation and Inhibition Programmes used in a classroom setting with specific before and after results for nine children.  The program itself was not detailed in this chapter, but there are some exercises detailed in the last chapter of the book which we will get to soon!

Many blessings,


3 thoughts on ““Turning Children Around”–Chapter 9 of “The Well Balanced Child”

  1. I entirely agree about the play in schools. I teach highschool drama, and the second thing we do every day (after attendance and check-in) is play a warm up game involving movement for 10 – 15 min. Since I’m working at a private school focusing on students with learning and behavior difficulties, many students have travelled over an hour on train, bus or metro to get to school and then often sat through one or two hour and fifteen minute classes before I see them. When they arrive the students are listless and grumpy, but after 15 min. of focused movement they are energized and ready to be creative.

  2. Does what you say about clingy children apply to 15-month-olds? My daughter is incredibly attached so I give her the attention she needs. I don’t push her away but sometimes I worry if she will really outgrow it. She is even physically able to walk but will not do so without holding on to my finger. Just going to the bathroom is a challenge for me. Is there anything I can or should be doing?

    Thank you Carrie

    • Nicole,
      No, separation anxiety is a normal part of toddler development. If you look under the development tab, there should be some posts dealing with toddler behavior for you to look at.

      Many blessings,

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