I have heard it before and actually was a natural at accepting that rough n tumble play is a good thing for these sons of mine. It is funny thinking back to the first days of these two boys being two years and six days apart, their first friendship was a toss on the ground to a wrestling match between the two. Chasing each other to give hugs and smiling as they enjoyed their brotherhood.
Video: My boys when they were younger enjoying each others company.
My sons can give others quite the scare, they are rough n tumble. Pretend punching, kicking, hitting and grabbing each other to wrestle to the ground or on my sleep number bed is a common occurrence in this household. And it’s good for them. Yes you heard me, rough n tumble play is good for them.
Rough n tumble play is okay because there are some things about it, it’s not aggressive play in that anyone is being taken advantage of, being hurt nor having their personal space being invaded. Rough n Tumble play is a non-verbal communication between two or more people (or children in this case) where they are happy, smiling at times and truly enjoying the rough nature of their playtime.
If you are a parent struggling with accepting rough n tumble play for your child, then read on! I recently took part in a webinar with Mattel regarding rough n tumble play and would love to share with you some tips/facts about the topic that I learned –
- Rough and Tumble play (R&T) is sometimes known as “roughhousing”.
- R&T can involve chasing and fleeing, tag, falling on one another, or wrestling.
- R&T is both a positive and necessary form of play for children, particularly for boys, who experience a spike in testosterone at around age four and need an outlet for their sudden feelings of playful aggression.
- Gives boys an opportunity to learn their power, develop competence in their motor skills, and to imitate their role models.
- Linked with academic achievement, giving children an opportunity experiment with concepts in the real world.
- With R&T, there is an understanding of play and collaboration between the players – leading to far less injury.
- If guided properly, boys learn the difference between aggression and this form of physical play.
As you know, I have two sons, which means I have to be sure to monitor all rough n tumble play to ensure it doesn’t turn into aggressive behavior. I am not 100% perfect at monitoring properly but I try and here are some tips provided to me for parents to be able to be a positive part in their children’s rough n tumble play experiences:
- Set some basic rules, such as “no touching of faces” and “no shoes”.
- Let children be in charge of making some of the rules and enforcing them.
- Intervene only when the play turns combative; if parents intervene too often or too soon, children won’t learn conflict resolution on their own
- Not sure if it’s playing or fighting? Ask the participants if they see the difference and if everyone agrees.
- Parents should also engage in Rough and Tumble play with their children – whether its wrestling with Dad or “tickle fights” with Mom – the physical contact helps kids build relationships.
I love that last bullet point, why? Because that is how my four year old enjoys playing with me. K-man will ask to go have a tickle fight and just enjoys me being the “tickle monster” while I go crazy tickling him all over. I take moment breaks for him to catch is breath and then start tickling again. He loves this tickle monster time and it has truly brought us closer as mother & son.
The webinar I took part in with Mattel means that they will be sending my family some WWE Brawlin Buddies so that my kids can enjoy rough n tumble play while acting out with their favorite wrestling figures. Those products will be sent to me for free and I will be sharing more on our journey of rough n tumble play in the future here on site!
Do you allow rough n tumble play in your home? What are some things you do with your kids that encourage this love of physical play while being safe?