Expert Q&A: Can Roughhousing Go Too Far When Dad "Plays Rough" With His Young Daughter? by Rae Pica
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Q. "My husband plays very rough with my 3-year-old daughter. He does not hurt her, and he makes her laugh, but whenever they play, he hangs her upside down by the ankles to swing her. She loves it, but I don't know if that's OK. What do you think?" – Yanette
A: As long as your husband is swinging your daughter in a wide-open area, this shouldn’t be a problem! If she were a child from a slightly earlier time, when children had more opportunity for big-body play, she would likely spend time hanging upside-down and swinging from monkey bars and tree limbs.
Although those activities may seem like no more than “monkeying around,” they’re actually critical for the development of the proprioceptive and vestibular senses, as are such activities as spinning, rolling, and running and changing direction.
- The proprioceptive sense involves the awareness of where our bodies and body parts are in the space around us (so we don’t have to watch our feet as we walk up the stairs, for example).
- The vestibular sense is related to balance.
Both are essential for optimal development, so your daughter is fortunate to have a dad who “plays rough” with her!
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