Roughhousing: 6 Benefits of Rough Play With Kids (You Won't Believe No. 2!) by Mike Prochaska

Fun With Dad
2 months ago
Roughhousing: 6 Benefits of Rough Play With Kids (You Won't Believe No. 2!)

Roughhousing, wrestling, whatever you call it, it’s one of the best things about being a parent. I love roughhousing and tickling my kids, but lately it has gotten a bad rap and not allowed at daycares and schools. And even some parents don’t let their kids roughhouse at home anymore, which is sad because it an important part of children’s development. In the book, "The Art of Roughhousing," Anthony DeBenedet and Lawrence Cohan highlight a few of the benefits of roughhousing and share research about how roughhousing doesn’t make children violent and impulsive, but instead makes children smart, emotionally intelligent, loveable and likeable. And physically fit. Here are the six reasons kids need roughhousing:

  • Roughhousing can build a kid’s resilient spirit. It gives kids the ability to bounce back from failures and adapt to unpredictable situations, which helps them reach their full potentials. Roughhousing requires children to adapt. Learning how to cope with sudden changes teaches children how to cope with bumps in life.
  • Roughhousing makes kids smarter by rewiring their brains for learning. How? By increasing the brains levels of a chemical called BDNF that helps grow parts of the brain for memory, logic and higher learning skills. Neuroscientists studying human brains found that horseplay increases, not decreases, children’s brain chemicals for learning.
  • Children who engage in frequent roughhousing are more socially and emotionally adept than children who don’t. The “lack of rough play hamper the normal give and take necessary for social mastery and has been linked with poor control of violent impulses later in life,” says Dr. Stuart Brown, the founder of the National Institute of Play. Children learn the difference between play and aggression when they roughhouse. They learn the social skills to read and understand people.
  • Roughhousing teaches our kids morality. When we roughhouse with our kids. they learn boundaries between right and wrong. If they start hitting too hard or somewhere they’re not supposed to, then we show them what appropriate roughhousing rules are. Roughhousing also teaches children about the appropriate use of strength and power, and that there can be strength in showing compassion to the weaker.
  • Roughhousing gets your children physically fit. If you want your children to be healthy and active, then as parent or caregiver you need to be healthy and active – and what better way than to roughhouse with kids.
  • Roughhousing is fun. It fun to roughhouse with your children. Don’t you remember being a kid roughhousing with your mom or dad? When you throw your children in the air and catch them you’re also building your child’s trust in you, that you’ll keep them safe. 

Remember, roughhousing is for both boy and girls. Studies have shown that girls who roughhouse are more confident than girls who don’t. Also, studies show that girls who roughhouse have less chance of becoming mean girls who terrorize other girls. So next time your children start roughhousing, remember it is OK because it is making them a better person and is part of their development into good, caring adults.

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Elisa All Schmitz 30Seconds
You make excellent points, Mike Prochaska . I think people are scared to let their kids roughhouse for many reasons (injury, bullying, etc). Thanks for shining a light on the positives!
Mike Prochaska
DoingGoodTogether how do you feel about wrestling and roughhousing?
DoingGoodTogether
In my house, it's the way we reconnect at the end of the day. Tickle monster! And isn't it incredible that fun, instinctive, silly PLAY can have so many benefits? The trick is to help kids learn

*to respect other people's bodies, even as they are silly,
*to recognize that "no" and "stop" are words to honor, always, and
*to be aware of their own strengths and limits.

Again, lessons for life all the way around. Bring on the PLAY!
Brian Mackenzie
i love these points, and for the kids it's really easy for them to learn & remember 'if you both aren't having fun, it's probably not fun'. (no means no is great, but what if no wasn't said yet? the kids can easily read each other if you point it out to them...maybe it's playing a little differently so both are having a good time...learning to predict and react to other people's feelings)

if he wants to get 'really' rough, I'm around any time for that :)

and if someone gets hurt by accident? they both knew the risks! :D
Teacher Karen
I regularly roughhoused with my kidlets...AND I'm picking up where I left off with my grandbubs!!
Lemi-Ola Erinkitola
Who know "horseplay increases, not decreases, children’s brain chemicals for learning." Okay, so now you have my attention. This is amazing information about BDNF that helps grow parts of the brain for memory, logic and higher learning skills. Thanks
Stacey Roberts
I’ve read several studies on this since my kids were little, they’re now 18 & 14 and they all say beneficial, especially if dad’s involved. Regardless, I never know if there’s an earthquake or a freight train going through my house and either husband has instigated it or is in on it! When my daughter was 3 we were traveling, so one morning while I was getting ready she asked if she could put some of my eye shadow on. Since it was basically the same color as skin with a little shimmer I let her. So there she was was decked out in Lily Pulitzer with “make up” on when she jumped up on the bed and told her dad, “ok dad lets wrestle, but don’t mess up my make up”!
Stacey Roberts
I know, right? And thank you Mike for all your contributions supporting letting kids be kids.
Mike Prochaska
Stacey you should write tips too!! Need as many play advocates as I can find
Stacey Roberts
Mike Prochaska
Something like letting kids play in the mud/dirt? 🤣
Mike Prochaska
They need to add a love button!!
Stacey Roberts
Mike Prochaska as toddlers, my kids wore more paint, mud and food than clothes

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