It took me quite awhile to be ok with roughhouse play. And you know, it was initially more that I was worried about other parents’ expectations about the play and how we responded to it than the play itself. Although I did harbour some concerns about the kids getting hurt. But I also noticed it was hard for the kids to come back down from their roughhouse high.
I tried encouraging my son to play differently for a little while. We have no toy guns or weapons in our home (we do have a water pistol but that’s a bit different right?). But it’s funny how easily a clothes hanger and elastic band can become a bow, or a stick can become a sword…
Then I started reading articles and books about why children need roughhouse play, and why playing with toy guns can be okay. Our kindy teacher also talked to me about how important roughhouse play is and how they managed it in the playground.
I’ve learnt that this kind of play has many benefits ~ it helps kids learn their limits, builds emotional resilience and empathy, and it allows dad’s to connect with their kids in a way that might feel more comfortable.
So I got comfortable with the idea and more able to defend it.
Now we have rules to minimise risk (no sticks near faces for example), and we encourage the kids to help their friends if someone does accidentally get hurt. Story telling can also be used to encourage safe rough play.
And you know what, my husband loves a bit of roughhouse play ~ and nothing is more fun than roughhousing with your dad!
How do you feel about roughhouse play?