Have you ever received a knee right to the kidney? It’s pretty uncomfortable. But when it’s followed by the uncontrollable giggling of a child, it’s pretty easy for the pain to melt into laughter. Roughhousing with your son is a blast. Not to mention, it’s a terrific way to build deep bonds, get some exercise, and grow your child’s emotional intelligence. This isn’t just with toddlers, either. Teenagers can roughhouse, too. Although it gets a little more challenging with a teen, as he may be able to take you.
Many of us worry about safety when it comes to roughhousing—and rightly so. However, we can’t overcorrect. There are many benefits to rough physical play for our sons, so the answer isn’t to throw it out altogether. Here are 3 ways to roughhouse your son will love (and that prevent those pesky trips to the ER).
1. Sleeping Bag Wrestling
Clear everything breakable out of a large room. Have a third party slip sleeping bags over your heads. Then wrestle one another. The third party can stand with a pillow and whack you when you’re getting too close to a wall or furniture.
2. Lazy Basketball
You’ll need a squishy ball (like a Nerf ball) and two baskets or trashcans. Clear out a large area so you have space to move. Set each basket on either end of the room. Begin with the ball in the middle and son and dad facing each other as though they’re going to begin with a jump-ball. When dad says go, both of you go for the ball. The goal is to get it into the hoop on the other side of the room. The defender can grab arms, legs, bear hug, tackle—whatever it takes. First one to 5 points wins.
3. On Guard
What do you do with those old cardboard tubes that are left over when you finish a roll of wrapping paper? Have a sword fight, of course! This can work for any age, though it’s likely to be safer with younger boys (teens can leave welts on you). You can cut up parts of the tube to fashion a handle for your weapon. But you also can just use the tube and your imagination. For extra protection, you can stuff a pillow into your shirt and encourage your opponent to aim there.
These activities are a blast and are obviously not gender-specific. While the focus of this post is ways to roughhouse your son will love, consider that your daughter might love them, too.
Earn some points: Are you married? Help your wife’s relationship with your son by sharing this iMOM article: 5 Things Boys Need From Their Moms.
Sound off: What are your favorite ideas for safe ways to roughhouse with your son?
Huddle up with your kids and ask about ways you can roughhouse together.