Expert Q&A: Can Roughhousing Go Too Far When Dad "Plays Rough" With His Young Daughter? by Rae Pica

Expert Q&A Playtime
a year ago
Expert Q&A: Can Roughhousing Go Too Far When Dad "Plays Rough" With His Young Daughter?

We get lots of great questions from our community members, and we have lots of great experts to provide answers. Have a question? Send it to us at and we'll do our best to get it answered for you! 

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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This is so good to know! Kids need to be kids.
Mike Prochaska
Of course it safe and it DAP!
Mike Prochaska
Sorry developmentally appropriate practice! And both boys and girls need it
Rae Pica
I should add that children are getting so little movement these days that they are literally falling out of their seats! Their proprioceptive and vestibular senses are so underdeveloped that they can't remain upright. One 1st-grade teacher reported that it happened 44 times in one week!
Mike Prochaska
Not my kids.. lol the couch is geting a lot abuse though during Elearning. Anything to keep him moving and active during class
Elisa A. Schmitz 30Seconds
Kids are definitely missing out on this kind of active, developmental play. Thank you for the great question, Yanette, and for the great answer, Rae Pica !
Rae Pica
You're welcome, Elisa! Glad for the opportunity to get the word out!
You're welcome Elisa, and thanks also to you Rae Pica for clarifying my doubt, also if my daughter is enjoying it and does not show any discomfort, I don't have to worry. But at first I got nervous when I saw her hanging like this by her father, because there are people who are against that, they say that is abuse.
Mike Prochaska
That is not abuse it just being a good dad! Dads parent different then moms. Also would people be saying the same thing of you where talking about you son?

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