How do you play with your kids, especially daughters? Prompted by Joe Kelly’s article Michele Sinisgalli-Yulo posed this question on Princess-Free Zone yesterday and it really got me and lots of others thinking.
I’m definitely not a rough housing mom. That was Joe’s department. He did it naturally and totally enjoyed having the girls climb over him, ride on his back, wrestle with him, play catch and shoot baskets, bike, etc.
I did physical things with my daughters including dance, art, water play, swinging, garden and yard work. None of that really qualifies as rough housing, except maybe jumping in the leaf pile. Physically rough play didn’t come naturally to me and now I’m sorry that it didn’t.
Playing that way with my daughters would have been great for them and me. Now that I’m honorary grandma to two-year old Lucy I see how important physical play is to her. She loves to run and jump and throw balls and be picked up and tossed around. And she loves to do it with me.
When we play like this I’m completely free of any thoughts about how I look. I’m totally absorbed in what my body can do and how it can do more. How my body can help me accomplish things and reach my goals.
That feeling takes me right back to the time before puberty when I was an active climber, explorer, runner & hider in the woods behind our house. I felt at one with my body and didn’t spend any energy analyzing or trying to change its perceived flaws. Body Freedom!
I think rough physical play can give girls a huge dose of Body Freedom. Kind of like a vaccination against the unhealthy appearance preoccupation they get attacked by as tweens and teens. That’s why they need as much of it as we can give them – from mom, dad, grandparents, etc. They need lots and lots of experiences of their body in action and being valued for its action.
That’s why I wish I’d been a rough housing mom. And why I’m going to reform and become even more of a rough housing grandma.
Do you rough house with your daughter(s)? Why or why not? And I’m looking for photos of moms rough housing with daughters – couldn’t find a single one in a google search! If you have one you’re willing to share that would be great.
Big Thanks to Melissa Atkins Wardy of Pigtail Pals for the photo of her and her daughter, taken by her son.