Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Rough and tumble play

                                How rough and tumble play can benefit your child

Many parents worry about rough and tumble play, concerned that their child might get harmed in some way. I must admit, I haven't done too much rough and tumble with my daughter as I end up on the receiving end of some sort of pain! But, today we had a little rough and tumble play and she was loving every moment of it!!

The Raising Children Network describe rough and tumble like so :

"Most children love rough-and-tumble play and play fighting. It helps them understand their own strength, and work out their social relationships. You can usually tell play fighting from the real thing."

A lot of rough and tumble play is associated mainly with boys. Just today I noticed some rough and tumble between two boys in a local school playground. It was all fun, the boys were smiling and laughing but immediately, the playground supervisor stepped in to split it up, where it was simply just some rough and tumble! It is the sort of play which allows children to explore their strengths and the limits of what their bodies can do.

Our play today consisted of tickling, but also of my daughter challenging herself. She was trying to climb up on the sofa, but I was there using my legs to create barriers for her to conquer. It took great physical skill to climb over, perseverance skills to keep trying and thinking skills to work out ways of getting to where she wanted to be. Plus it was a great bonding session for us both, after she had spent a morning at Pre-school.

There is often a lot of pretend play evident in rough and tumble too, whether the adult involved is pretending to be a monster, or tiger, or the children are being bad guys and superheroes!

It is naturally assumed that rough and tumble play begins at around the ages of 2 years onwards, but you can start from when a child is still a baby. Our daughter loved being bounced on our knees, which is a great place to start as long as the baby feels and is safe. This is not recommended for babies who cannot hold their heads or have the strength to contend with such movements, so after 8 months is usually best.

Rough and tumble play is most prominent in primary aged children. It is always good to make sure you lay down simple rules with children within rough and tumble play, to prevent things getting out of hand and people getting hurt. There are many children who get too over excited and end up causing harm when they do not mean to. This is a good time to stop the play and calm down!

And remember, rough and tumble play is not just for male carers! It is just as fun with us ladies too, although many children do find that their Dad's rough and tumble play is the best!!

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