The Benefits of Roughhousing

Toddlers—and older kids— love the active, physical play that is roughhousing—especially when it involves Mom or Dad. You may wonder if it sets your little one up for out-of-control behavior or injuries.

Actually, it sets you both up for a stronger relationship.

Research has shown that roughhousing results in the release of neurotransmitters called endorphins—chemicals in the brain that make you feel good.

And when the play is done, you often end up hugging or snuggling with your toddler as the body releases what some call the “cuddle chemical,” oxytocin.

In other words, occasional roughhousing—done in a safe, age-appropriate way—is a wonderful activity that strengthens your relationship with your toddler. It can also teach coordination, self-control, empathy for others and confidence.

Find terrific ideas for roughhousing, teaching kids how to rev up and then calm down, and safety tips in the book The Art of Roughhousing, by Lawrence Cohen, Ph.D., and Anthony DeBenedet, M.D., (Quirk Books, 2001).

See also ...
  • Roughhousing – a Ted Talk with Anthony DeBenedet, M.D., co-author of The Art of Roughhousing

This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.

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