By taking part in rough and tumble games with their fathers, youngsters may be learning to behave better. Picture: Ketut Subiyanto/Pexels
By taking part in rough and tumble games with their fathers, youngsters may be learning to behave better. Picture: Ketut Subiyanto/Pexels

How rough and tumble games with dad help children behave

By Victoria Allen Time of article published Jul 4, 2020

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London - It’s the sort of play that can sometimes end in tears, especially when toddlers are overexcited or tired.

But by taking part in rough and tumble games with their fathers, youngsters may be learning to behave better.

This type of physical play – including being chased or tickled – may help to teach youngsters up to the age of three how to control their feelings, a study has found. That is because it tends to be exciting, but within boundaries, where getting too aggressive or upset is frowned upon.

Researchers from Cambridge University looked at 78 studies on fathers and how they played with children up to three.

Playtime with fathers was found to be far more physical than with mothers, who were generally more keen on other types of play including make-believe games.

Five of the studies found children whose fathers played with them – physically or actively, such as playing catch, or with toys – were better at regulating their emotions.

Professor Paul Ramchandani, who led the study, said: "We don’t know for sure that children were better at controlling their emotions just because their fathers played with them, but rough and tumble play with fathers might help with this.

"Children learn how far they can go in these games in being physical and they can get feedback from their father, so can learn where the boundaries are. This exciting play may also help them to cope with strange and unpredictable situations without overreacting."

The academic paper, published in the journal Developmental Review, found men tend to play with their young children for an average of 38 minutes on a non-work day.

The amount of time spent playing with their children gradually increases through early childhood, then decreases during "middle" childhood, from the ages of six to 12.

Daily Mail

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