The benefits of rough and tumble play for boys

Rough and tumble play, also known as play fighting and roughhousing, is a common activity which should be encouraged during your son’s development, according to psychologists.

Rough play can look different at each stage of your son’s life. Babies usually enjoy being bounced on an adult’s knee or lifted into the air. Toddlers enjoy spinning around or dancing, and primary school boys enjoy playing chase or wrestling. Rough and tumble play can further progress to boys climbing over one another, rolling around, and even pretending to fight.

Raising Children Australia advises that during rough and tumble play, your son should be smiling and laughing. If he is frowning, crying, in fear or anger, it isn’t playing.

Rough and tumble play often occurs outside and can be a great form of exercise for your son as it often involves a high level of movement and energy. It also provides opportunities for your son to interact and read his peers’ body language and facial expressions.

As a parent, you are also encouraged to participate in rough and tumble play with your son. Research has found that rough play is crucial for bonding, especially between young boys and their fathers. It helps shape your son’s ability to think, act and manage his emotions.

Here are eight benefits of rough and tumble play for your son:

  1. He will begin to understand his own strength.
  2. He will gain a sense of achievement when he 'defeats' a more powerful adult.
  3. He will explore changing positions in different environments.
  4. He will discover the importance of personal boundaries.
  5. He will understand the meaning of patience by taking turns.
  6. He will build self-confidence and concentration.
  7. He will recognise that it’s okay to not always win.
  8. He will feel empowered and trusted.

While rough play is encouraged, it should always be monitored closely to ensure it doesn’t lead to real fighting. Set some rules and be clear with your son about what is and isn’t acceptable during play.

In 2019, Christ Church Grammar School opened the doors to its Early Learning Community (ELC), dedicated to collaborative, imaginative and creative learning. Book a tour today to discover the wonderful opportunities and outstanding facilities available for your son.

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