Mom throws a large sized pillow at her unsuspecting 10 year old boy.
It hits him in the head sending it jolting forward.
‘Hey mom! That’s very mature!’
Mom laughs uncontrollably till her tummy aches when suddenly, she turns around to see a pillow flying right into her face.
Son bursts out laughing….
“Hahaha. Look who’s laughing now!”
This is a classic example of how rough and tumble play aka pillow fights start in my home.
However, when my boys were younger and not so heavy, I used to give them piggy back rides and bull rides where they will pile up on top of me while I’m on all fours and I’ll try to shake them off as hard as I can.
It’s one of the most valuable ways that my hubby and I connect with our boys…..not that we dont connect in other ways…..but rather ….. at different levels.
There are times when we connect through heart to heart talks and cuddles and laughing and such but rough and tumble play is at a whole new level of it’s own!
So here are a few reasons why rough and tumble play is such a huge part of our family…..
1) The good thing about play is that it abolishes well established roles…..only for a little while….rendering both the parent and child at the same level and both vulnerable to having loads of fun. Playing also helps release endorphines when all parties are having fun and this helps relieve stress which is vital for mental, and emotional wellbeing of the whole family.
2) Safe platform to explore……”you are killing me! I’m going to tickle you to death! argh! You shot me in the chest!”…..which would otherwise be inappropriate in other context…..or worst still……be pent up energy till it shows itself later in life.
3) Affection….this is especially more with boys because many boys struggle with expressing their affection verbally, so even though I often tell my boys that I love them, rough and tumble play takes it a few steps further. Rough and tumble play provides the best context for physical contact and closeness which helps significantly with the whole bonding process.
4) Self-regulation skills, learning that the right place and time for everything is very important. It teaches impulse control and helps them learn to wait. My boys know that there are many things that they can explore, say and do during rough and tumble play that would otherwise be inappropriate so they will wait till the time is right before indulging in it.
5) It is free and a totally brainless thing to do. Unlike cooking or art projects there are no preparations that need to be made, no planning and no special materials needed. All you have to do is to tickle them silly or roll down a grass hill with them or whack them with pillows. It’s just the thing to do on the fly. Also, it’s free so you wont have to spend a bomb bringing them to disney land or any fancy place for fun, you can do it at home, at the park or anywhere with pillows.
Rough and tumble play is such a basic instinct that even most animals indulge in with their young on a regular basis. So ask yourself, when was the last time you engaged in roughs and tumble play with your children? And if you have to pause for a while to think about it, the answer probably is ……quite some time ago and if that is the case, it also means that you should be doing it a little more often.
If it doesn’t come naturally to you, you’d just have to be intentional about it because it’s not something that you’d want to take for granted.