Children often indulge in what parents consider to be rough, physical play - tumbling and rolling around, holding each other tight, screaming etc., As parents we often get concerned about whether this is normal behaviour. It is normal behaviour and a good contributor to a child's development as long as it does not become dangerous. In fact, parents should also feel free to get involved especially with the younger kids.
What is safe "physical play"?
Any form of physical activity which involves children using their body in a way that does not endanger anyone, is good for the child. Here are some examples of such activities:
- Tumbling around on a bed - the soft surface of the bed can cushion any falls.
- What to watch for - Ensure no one is pushed off the bed
- Pillow fight - throw some soft pillows at each other. Maybe you can get off the bed with some pillows and lob them back at your child who is still on the bed.
- What to watch for - Ensure that no one is hit from close range
- Holding children in a big hug or pretending to hold them down on the floor
- What to watch for - Make sure one child does not crash down on top of another
What are the benefits of rough and tumble play?
You should not be worried if your child is indulging in activities like the examples given above. In fact, you should also participate in them and play with them. There are many benefits from safe physical play
- Children use numerous muscles in their body and it helps them improve their gross motor skills
- They learn what risks they can take and what they should not
- They learn what is acceptable behaviour and what is not
- When parents get involved, children become more comfortable experimenting with various physical activities. Our presence gives them a sense of safety aboutwhat they can try
- It gives them an active alternative to watching TV
What can I do as a parent?
- Get involved. Become a kid and tumble around a bit. It is good for your muscles too.
- Have a pillow fight
- Pretend to hold your child down
- Give them piggyback rides
- Toss them up in the air a little (not recommended for children under 2). Be careful though.
- Give them piggyback rides
- Enforce limits right away. During a game, if you see your child get carried away tell them firmly that they cannot do what they did. Here are some things you should immediately intervene for
- Crashing into someone else with their head
- Give children a nice padded place to play. Beds are perfect. If not, many cities have small playcenters with padded rooms where your child can go to tumble around
- And remember it is not just for boys and dads. Girls and moms should do it too.
A good dose of rough and tumble will help your child in many different ways.
What are some of the things you do with your child? Share with us...