Mattel teamed up with children’s physical activity specialist Rae Pica, to talk about physical activity and the benefits of Rough and Tumble play. Pica shares that Rough and Tumble play is a positive and necessary form of play for children, particularly boys.
Guided properly, this play pattern offers them an opportunity to learn their power, develop competence in their motor skills and understand boundaries (who they are and where they and others start/stop). Here are some of Pica’s tips that parents might find helpful when it comes to Rough and Tumble play:
1. Children should be engaged in making the rules, as they’re more likely to follow rules they’ve had a role in creating. Good limits may include, “no touching of faces” and “no shoes.”
2. Although it’s important for children to feel in charge of their play, parents should supervise. They should check in to ensure rules are being followed, but only intervene when it becomes necessary. If parents intervene too often or too soon, children won’t learn conflict resolution on their own.
3. An important rule is that all parties must agree to the active play, with everyone having the option to stop any time. If there is any question as to whether the experience is playing or fighting, parents should always ask.
4. If play has turned aggressive, parents can redirect children’s energy. Indoors, they can introduce Brawlin’ Buddies to wrestle with. Outdoors, they can provide small beanbags to throw against an outside wall or plastic bottles to kick, or invite the children to race as fast and for as long as they can.
5. As it builds strong relationships, parents can also engage in Rough and Tumble play with their kids. Dads may feel comfortable with wrestling, but moms may want to engage in “tickle fights.” Either way, it’s the physical contact that matters. When parents participate, it validates Rough and Tumble play and models positive ways to engage in it.
For more on Rae Pica, click here.