photo: Fernando Mafra via Flickr

Although wrestling with siblings and parents might have been a normal part of your own childhood, parenting has become a lot more safety-centric in recent years and horsing around is often viewed as too aggressive or dangerous. Experts suggest, however, that roughhousing offers some great benefits for kids as they grow.

Educational psychologist Jennifer StGeorge told Kinstantly that, “Rough-and-tumble play definitely doesn’t make kids more aggressive. And it has lots of social and emotional benefits.” In a recent study she completed published in the journal Infant and Child Development, StGeorge followed 24 fathers and their 4-year-olds, watching them as they engaged in physical games. Her findings confirmed what other studies have already shown that roughhousing, or play that involves bodily contact, can help kids learn to take risks safely, practice understanding others emotions, develop impulse control, and learn to handle frustration, among other benefits.

While there’s always a small chance of injury, the same could be said for just about any traditional physical activity that kids engage in, like team sports. With parents maintaining control and keeping things fun and positive, the benefits kids gain far outweigh the risk.

Do you think horseplay is an important part of childhood? Share your thoughts in the comments.