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  • Writer's pictureJana

Can Play Wrestling Create Connection?


Research shows that bonding through physical play, such as play wrestling, leads to positive and lasting memories for our children. Research has proven that wrestling was an activity that young adults, both male and female, remembered and enjoyed the most from their childhood. Remember, girls can play rough too! There are benefits to play wrestling with your child, but the bond can be formed through other types of physical play. For example, you can be your child's bull or horse and take them for a ride, play football with your child and gently tackle each other, play "can't catch me" and end with a big bear hug, etc.

Bonding with your child is done through a variety of ways and tend to utilize our senses. We see our child, we can hear our child, we know their different smells, strangely enough we have probably even tasted them (we have all gone in for kiss during cold season...blehhh). One of the easiest things to do as your child gets older is to miss out on bonding through physical touch. When our lives get busy, or we get tired, hugs and play can get placed to the side and we never even realize it has happened! Typically, kids are good at reminding you that they want you to slow down and come sit with them or play with them but it isn't always possible in that moment.

*Challenge*: Take note of your child's favorite way to use physical touch in their play with you. Do they prefer to play wrestle? Do they prefer to skip across the yard holding hands? After you have observed the ways that your child prefers to play, make an effort to participate with them in that play at least two times this week.

*Tip*: In more physical play you need to ensure you do not get carried away and remain aware of your child's limits. Take this opportunity to pay attention to the details of your child's limits. If your child likes to wrestle you can observe their physical limits to know what level you should be operating at, but you can also learn their other limits. When they get stuck in a move do they cry, do they laugh, do they threaten to stop playing, do they "trick" you into letting them escape? There is NO wrong way for the child to handle these situations.

This is another opportunity to LEARN more about your child and MODEL and TEACH them ways of appropriately interacting with others! This will help you gain more appreciation for your child and who they are becoming.

*Review*: If your child becomes angry or upset during your play remember to set the temperature, try to refrain from being reactive! Sometimes accidents happen when play wrestling so make sure if you get bopped on the nose that you model for your child an appropriate way to deal with the frustration and pain. As you learn more about your child feel free to add to your list of things you love about them. They are constantly growing and changing so there are always new things to learn about them!


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