Narrator: Rough-and-tumble play and play-fighting helps children to understand their own strength while being physical and playful. This kind of active play works best when your child is wide awake and not expected to go to bed or sit quietly anytime soon.
When your child uses all of her strength to hold you down on the floor or ground, she is learning a lot about her physical limits and what she can and can’t do with her body.
Some dads specialise in wrestling, while other families can have the most fun pretending dad is a monster or a dragon that needs to be trapped.
Onscreen tip: Different play for different ages
Narrator: Rough-and-tumble play is different at different ages. Babies and toddlers enjoy exciting movement, as long as they feel safe. Toddlers and babies over 8 months, who can hold their head, neck and back straight when sitting, might like to be gently bounced or lifted into the air.
It’s best to be gentle with young children though to avoid any accidental injury. Toddlers love playing chasy or tiggy, spinning around, and dancing.
Primary school children are the biggest rough-and-tumblers. In all these games the key is to have fun together.
Onscreen tip: Set some rules
Narrator: Rough-and-tumble play can easily lead to real fighting. So try to have some rules about what is and isn’t acceptable during play. As well as the desire to win, this type of play also helps your child learn important social lessons, like what’s fair.
Onscreen tip: Let your child win or lose
Narrator: Encourage your children to keep trying when they lose. Dad could say, keep trying, you almost got me that time. Remember, as the strongest and biggest player, you might have to let yourself be overpowered or caught so another player can win at least some of the time.
Onscreen tip: Allow time to calm down
Narrator: After all the fun, give yourselves some time to calm down before the next activity.