Fun Play Trend: Good Old Fashioned Roughhousing
A new style of grappling actually makes your kids smarter, more confident & perceptive
Rough housing, horsing around, acting a fool. Whatever you call it in your house, getting rowdy inside is probably a known bringer of time outs. But in Anthony DeBenedet’s household, rough housing is a play staple. The Ann Arbor-based father of three says that parents should embrace roughhousing and drop the safety concern usually associated with it.
DeBenedet feels so passionately about roughhousing he wrote a book about it, outlining the health benefits and instructing parents how to do it. Written in partnership with Larry Cohen, “The Art of Roughhousing” has been featured in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washingtonn Post, Chicago Sun Times, Chicago Tribune, and on the TODAY show.
It all started when DeBenedet decided to change the way he interacted with his daughter. He saw her heading down a “mommy-only” stage, and all his efforts to engage with her were futile. He wasn’t having any of it. So he decided to try bonding with her the same way his dad played with him when he was a kid – wrestling, throwing her around, being rough. The results were astonishing. “There was this ‘aha moment,’ everything switched from ‘disconnection’ to ‘connection,’ ” DeBenedet told The Daily Tribune. He found the same results with his other two daughters.
Turning to science for an explanation, he found that rough and tumble play between parents and kids is one of the best strategies for cultivating creativity, cognitive ability and emotional intelligence. Roughhousing teaches kids how to work well with others, be aware of their bodies and other bodies around them, as well as cooperation, confidence, and the ability to say “that’s enough” or “this is uncomfortable”.
DeBenedet’s tips for parents who want to get rough? It should be the kid driving the play, not the adult,” he said. “Show your child you’re the clumsy one, you’re the one who stumbles over your feet. Kids love that. It shows them: ‘Your power is welcome here,’ and ‘You’re going to learn to be strong and confident and we’re going to do that together.’ ”
Check out his site, The Art of Roughhousing, for some cool moves to try with your kid complete with helpful diagrams, and DeBenedet’s blog posts about his adventures in rough housing.
We recommend fashioning some super hero costumes to match your battles.
Photo by matthewjolly via Flickr