Benefits of Roughhousing for Kids

Roughhousing, also known as play fighting, wrestling, or horseplay, is a form of physical activity that involves rough play among kids. While it is often discouraged by parents and educators as it can lead to injuries, when done safely and supervised by adults, roughhousing has numerous benefits for children.

Physical Benefits

Roughhousing involves physical contact and movement, which provides children with a variety of physical benefits, including:

1. Improves Strength and Fitness

Roughhousing is a form of exercise that helps kids build their strength, endurance, and agility. During rough play, kids exert force on each other, which can help them develop stronger muscles, bones, and joints. As a result, they become fitter and physically more capable.

2. Enhances Balance and Coordination

Roughhousing involves a lot of movements, such as jumping, rolling, and flipping, that require balance and coordination. Through practice, kids can improve their balance and coordination skills, which can benefit them in other physical activities.

3. Improves Cardiovascular Health

Rough play also helps kids with their cardiovascular health. The physical exertions required during roughhousing can help to increase the heart rate, improve blood circulation, and strengthen the heart and lungs.

Emotional Benefits

Roughhousing is not just physically beneficial but also has significant emotional benefits, including:

1. Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Rough play can be an effective way for kids to release pent-up emotions, such as stress, anxiety, or frustration. Through physical contact and movement, kids can release their feelings in a safe and controlled environment, which can help them feel better emotionally.

2. Boosts Confidence and Self-esteem

Roughhousing can also help to boost kids’ confidence and self-esteem. As they engage in physical activity and push themselves to try new things, they develop a sense of accomplishment and confidence in their abilities. Over time, this can translate into improved self-esteem and self-confidence.

3. Promotes Socialization and Emotional Intelligence

Roughhousing allows kids to interact and bond with each other. By playing together, they learn to cooperate, negotiate, and communicate effectively. These skills are critical in developing socialization and emotional intelligence, which can benefit kids throughout their lives.

Cognitive Benefits

Roughhousing can also have cognitive benefits for kids, including:

1. Enhances Creativity and Imagination

Rough play requires kids to use their creativity and imagination to come up with new moves, scenarios, and games. This can encourage them to think outside the box, improve their problem-solving skills, and enhance their creativity and imagination.

2. Improves Concentration and Attention Span

Roughhousing involves a lot of physical movement and action, which can improve kids’ concentration and attention span. By focusing on the game, they can develop better concentration skills, which can benefit them in other areas of their lives, such as school or sports.

3. Develops Emotional Regulation

Rough play provides kids with an opportunity to regulate their emotions. As they engage in physical activity, they learn to manage their feelings, such as frustration, anger, or excitement, in a safe and controlled environment. Over time, this can lead to improved emotional regulation and self-control.

Safety Tips for Roughhousing

While roughhousing can be beneficial for kids, it is essential to ensure that it is done safely and supervised. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Ensure that the play area is free from any hazards, such as sharp objects, hard surfaces, or tripping hazards.
  • Establish clear rules and boundaries for the game, such as no hitting or kicking, and ensure that all kids understand and follow them.
  • Make sure that the kids are appropriately dressed for the activity, such as wearing clothes that allow for free movement and shoes that provide good traction.
  • Supervise the kids during the play and intervene if necessary to prevent injuries or unsafe behavior.
  • Ensure that the kids take breaks, especially if they seem tired or overheated.


In conclusion, roughhousing can be a fun, safe, and beneficial activity for kids. It provides them with physical, emotional, and cognitive benefits, including improved strength, fitness, balance, coordination, stress relief, confidence, socialization, creativity, concentration, attention span, and emotional regulation. As long as it is done safely and supervised, roughhousing can be an excellent way for kids to stay active, learn important skills, and have fun.


What is roughhousing and how does it benefit kids?

Roughhousing is a form of physical play that involves wrestling, chasing, tickling, and other activities that may seem chaotic. However, research shows that roughhousing has many benefits for kids, including improved physical fitness, social and emotional development, and cognitive abilities. It also helps children develop important life skills, such as negotiating boundaries and managing their emotions.

Is roughhousing safe for kids?

While roughhousing can be a fun and healthy way for kids to play, it’s important to ensure that it’s done safely. To prevent injuries, roughhousing should be supervised by an adult and should take place on a soft surface, such as a carpet or mats. Children should also be taught to respect each other’s boundaries and to stop roughhousing if someone gets hurt or feels uncomfortable.

How can parents encourage roughhousing in a safe and constructive way?

Parents can encourage roughhousing by providing a safe and comfortable environment, setting clear rules and boundaries, and participating in the play themselves. It’s also important to model positive behaviors, such as taking turns and respecting each other’s boundaries. Parents can also use roughhousing as a way to connect with their children, build stronger relationships, and create lasting memories.


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