embracing rough play

Sam's little boy Angus is crawling now and his first order of business every day is to crawl on over and wrestle Ivy!

Kid wrestling can get a bit wild to nervous adult eyes and the temptation is to call a halt to the whole of it. But there’s a growing consensus that wrestling or roughhousing is not just good for kid’s overall physical and mental health—it’s vital.

In Psychology Today, Peter Gray  says: "From an evolutionary perspective, the main purpose of play is education." It’s all about learning survival skills. And even though life in the urban jungle requires other specific skills—conflict resolution, coding, cooking etc—there are still heaps of benefits to roughhouse play.

You might be interested in this book—it's all about the benefits of roughhousing.

Here’s what the authors say: 

Play—especially active physical play, like roughhousing—makes kids smart, emotionally intelligent, loveable and likeable, ethical, physically fit and joyful.”

All the skills they need to navigate life in all circumstances are right there. Of course, there’s more to becoming all those things than simply roughhousing, but it’s an important part of the puzzle.

Roughhousing is also called big body play —‘cause that’s really what it is. It’s not fighting and it’s not mean. It’s simply play with the whole body.

Frances Carlson says, “The quickest way to distinguish big body play from real fighting is by looking at the expressions on children’s faces. Their big smiles let us know the play is okay.”

And on that basis it’s easy to tell that Ivy & Angus are both having a great big-body-play time!