The Good News About Rough and Tumble Play

Have you heard the news? Rough and tumble play is good for both boys and girls.  Rather than trying to squelch this innate mode of connecting, we might want to consider encouraging it.  There are many benefits to this favorite pastime of young and old alike.

Here's a breakdown of how roughhousing helps your kids:

Develop social-emotional skills

Playtime is more than fun. Kids learn to take turns and cooperate with others. They develop the ability to manage their emotions even when they feel excited. You also teach your kids important ethical lessons when you hold back while arm wrestling, so they get a chance to win.  Kids also learn about big people being gentle, as clearly, the big people have much more power and control, yet exercise self-restraint so as not to injure the "littles" while roughhousing.  Imagine the lessons inherent in this, especially when it comes to older siblings learning to be gentle with younger ones.

Confidence  Builder

Physical play may help both boys and girls feel stronger and self-assured.  All kids benefit from developing resilience to bounce back from mistakes, adapt quickly to unpredictable events, and solve problems.


Sedentary lifestyles are contributing to an epidemic of obesity. Turn off the TV and head out to the back yard for a game of touch tag (or flashlight tag, if it's dusk or later).

Strengthen family bonds

Physical touch is one way all living creatures show affection and caring. Tickling your kids a little or falling on the floor so they can crawl on you helps to spread the love around.

Grow that Brain

Roughhousing actually stimulates neuronal growth...and that's a great thing. Memory, learning and logic are all enhanced! Go figure!

Just for the Fun of It 

Happiness centers in the brain light up while we roughhouse.  Those joyful feelings are shared among those who are roughhousing, leading to stronger bonds.

No wonder kids (and adults) like rough and tumble play so much!

Stay tuned, because we're going to be sharing a few safety tips when it comes to horseplay in our next post. It's mostly common-sense stuff, but good things to bear in mind!

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