When “Rough and Tumble” Play Gets ROUGH!

With summer just around the corner and the end of school quickly approaching, we know that our children will be more than excited to be outdoors and up at the Community Center.  Our elementary school children are accustomed to fairly short snippets of time outdoors for recess, but summer brings the opportunity for lots of outdoor experiences.

So much learning takes place while being outdoors and some of that learning centers around social interactions with each other, problem solving, decision making and the inevitable conflict resolution.  We want to encourage children to use their words to resolve issues, but occasionally conflict resolution involves a certain amount of pushing and shoving.

Even if there is no conflict what-so-ever, children can sometimes get carried away with their physical interactions with each other.  A little bit of fun wrestling can quickly turn hostile and end with one or several children in tears because they have been injured or have hurt feelings.

What role can adults play?

  • Have a conversation with your child about when to “walk away”. Often times that is the bravest and most honorable thing to do.
  • At Eagle’s Wing, we teach the children to use “belly breathing” to help their bodies calm down. Big, slow breaths with their tummy pushing outward.
  • If you happen across a scuffle, it’s fine to approach the children.  Just the presence of an adult can help children put things into a different perspective. J
  • Please, never touch or grab children to break them up (unless both happen to be your own children); and yelling at children is showing them that it’s ok to yell at people – which it isn’t.
  • It’s totally fine to walk home with another child to have a conversation with the child and their parent. Sometimes setting ground rules will help prevent future conflict.
  • Encourage children to seek the help of a trusted adult.
  • It can be helpful to re-direct children to other activities.
    • Have them take a break and read a fun comic book or joke book. Laughing tends to de-escalate all sorts of tense situations.
    • Sharing popsicles or juice-pops is a fun way to cool things down.
    • Coloring is a great way to de-stress.
    • Working with clay or playdough offers a creative outlet.

Wishing everyone a joyful, fun-filled summer!