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Calm Down, Mom: Let The Kids Play Rough With Dad (It's Good For Them!)
  • It’s only natural for moms to get nervous when dads become a bit too rough and tumble when playing with their kids. After all, moms spend so much time nurturing their babies and ensure they aren’t harmed in any way. But try to calm down, moms: According to science, kids get plenty of benefits from roughhousing with Dad.

    Note: These benefits are true for both boys and girls. Anthony DeBenedet, a physician who co-authored the book The Art of Roughhousing: Good Old-Fashioned Horseplay and Why Every Kid Needs It, says roughhousing helps boys learn that physical interaction doesn’t have to be violent or sexual and girls find a way for their voice to be heard, reports Today's Parent.

    Daniel Paquette, a professor of psychoeducation at the University of Montreal, adds that fathers are highlighted because they tend to engage in rough play with their kids more than moms, Today’s Parent writes.

    6 benefits of roughhousing for kids

    1. It helps her get fit.

    One obvious benefit your child can get from roughhousing is that she gets to engage in physical activityPsychCentral writes that roughhousing improves kids’ flexibility, body control, coordination, and cardiovascular fitness, among others. This kind of play allows your child to improve her balance as well.

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    2. It allows her to take risks.

    In his book Wild Justice, Marc Bekoff says that roughhousing is a great learning tool for kids because “it provides an opportunity for making mistakes without fear of punishment,” Motherly writes. Paquette also says that dads “tend to encourage children to take risks, while at the same time ensuring [their] safety and security, thus permitting children to learn to be braver in unfamiliar situations, as well as to stand up for themselves,” according to Motherly.


    3. It develops her emotional and social skills.

    According to PsychCentral, roughhousing requires kids to learn how to read others’ emotions and body language — a skill which will serve them well as adults, when they have to read a boss’s mood or deal with a challenging colleague. Roughhousing also helps a child gain self-control and develops her abilities to distinguish between innocent play and aggression and to take turns.

    4. It teaches her about boundaries.

    Roughhousing doesn’t just let kids learn the appropriate use of power and strength but also the importance of setting boundaries to be safe. A previous SmartParenting.com.ph article also points out that through rough play, kids learn that if they don’t control themselves, they will not be able to continue playing.

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    5. It’s a good way to manage her aggression.

    Kids often struggle to deal with big emotions, which can lead to uncontrollable tantrums. Roughhousing can be a good outlet for your child’s aggression. Motherly says that according to a book by psychologist John Snarey, kids who roughhouse with their dads “quickly learn that biting, kicking, and other forms of physical violence are not acceptable.”

    6. It’s good for her brain!

    Research also says roughhousing is great for a child’s brain: DeBenedet says it stimulates neuron growth in the parts of the brain that are responsible for emotional memory, logic, and language, Today’s Parent reports. Bekoff says roughhousing “rewires a child’s brain by increasing the connections between neurons in the cerebral cortex, which in turn contributes to behavioral flexibility.”

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