I noticed at Friday’s Play Shoppe that there was the perfect assortment of children playing Ring Around the Rosy at circle time. There were a few older ones who could keep the circle strong and moving – some younger ones who were very tuned in to follow along – and some very young beginning ones who were doing their wide-eyed best to keep up.
And then, of course, there were the adults!
We often play Ring Around the Rosy at Play Shoppe ( and yes, I am aware of the historical context) because little children always like it.
And why wouldn’t they? The anticipation of “We all fall down” is high – and then, the actual falling down – the heap of children on the ground, the joy of being silly, adults and children – just like that – falling down together.
Hilarious – actually – when you think about it!
Because falling down – on purpose – as part of the game – is silly, is zany, is just plain fun.
And more and more we are learning from experts like Lawrence Cohen, PH.D, author of Playful Parenting and his new book, co-authored with Anthony T. DeBenedit M.D., The Art of Roughhousing, that this type of shared silliness and roughhousing is one of the very best ways for families to connect.
And in a way we already know that, don’t we – from our own experiences both as a child and as a parent?
Just try saying to a child/children “You can’t catch me” and see what happens. Become a parental jungle gym. Hide and seek and shriek together. Watch tensions and stress melt away.
In addition to releasing stress and providing laughter and joy, these experts say that playfulness and roughhousing offer shared adventures and memories, develop cooperation, self-regulatory skills, trust, strength, tenderness and provide connection.
Plenty of connection.
So if you find yourself knocking heads with your children far too often, a little fun, a little slapstick, a little roughhousing might be in order.
As easy as “catch me if you can!”