Do you remember rolling around on the basement carpet as a kid, wrestling, or dancing with your siblings? Perhaps you remember fun flag football games in the backyard in the summer. Rough play is a cornerstone of most childhoods. With robust energy and innate physical nature, children gravitate towards roughhousing.
Here’s the good news: if your kids are frequently rolling around, roughhousing with each other, this is perfectly normal! If your child doesn’t love roughhousing as much, or your children have trouble with safe boundaries around rough play, this blog is also for you.
There are so many great benefits of kids engaging in rough play—and a few great rules we recommend to go along with it. Every child develops at a different rate and interacts in different ways. BLOOM provides online courses to support parents in their parenting journey—no matter how and where your child may be struggling. Explore courses on Aggression, Impulsivity, and Emotional Control and Regulation.
Why Kids Love Rough Play
Roughhousing and physical play have a crucial role in child development. Besides the physical gains like improved strength and endurance, rough-and-tumble play is integral to emotional, social, and academic development. It provides benefits, including increased confidence, body awareness, and problem-solving skills.
For children who have difficulty regulating and controlling their level of physical contact on the playground, rough-and-tumble play at home with parents and siblings is a great way to release excess energy. Another benefit: children engage in fun, bonding activities with their role model (you!) and learn the unspoken rules of roughhousing in a supportive environment.
Among the long list of emotional and social benefits of rough play, kids can also learn lessons on how to interpret the body language of others and how to manage their emotions in the thick of intense activity. It can also help kids in developing confidence and self-control.
What Happens If Rough Play Is Too Rough
Why do some kids seem to love rough play? Sometimes, they play so aggressively that other children get hurt.
You might be surprised to learn that most of these children have no intention of hurting other kids. In fact, they don’t think they’re doing anything wrong. They can’t understand why they constantly get into trouble on the playground. They wonder why their playmates retaliate or run away.
What can you do if your child plays too “rough”? Simple: guide them, establish rules, and provide frequent feedback.
Rules of Rough Play
Many parents wonder, but what if the rough play gets too rough? Remember, you are the parent, and you make rules.
Allowing your kids the freedom to rough play is a wonderful part of childhood, but you also remain the parent that guides them and knows when enough is enough.
Some children will need more guidance than others. If someone ends up in tears, it’s time to take a break.
Once everyone is calm, take this as an opportunity to explain to the kids why a timeout on roughhousing was needed. Readdress any rules you established at the beginning and remind them to remain respectful of the rules. For example, no use of heads, no pinching, no hitting, or no kicking.
Sometimes, rules need to center around allowed locations for rough play. Establish where in your house (or outside) that rough play is allowed.
The Benefits of Roughhousing
Even if you haven’t engaged in physical play in a while, don’t be afraid to try the rough-and-tumble activities! Hands-on play with kids is a great way to develop young bodies and minds.
Plus, playing with your child strengthens your relationship with them. It’s fun, too–win-win!
You may discover that you love the art of roughhousing just as much as your kids.
The journey of parenthood can be lonely and challenging. That’s why BLOOM provides accessible online resources and courses to support your family at your greatest point of need. Discover courses on Aggression, Impulsivity, and Emotional Control and Regulation.