Book review: Art of Roughhousing: Good Old Fashioned Horseplay and Why Every Kid Needs it

Whilst the title might be a mouthful, the Art of Roughhousing: Good Old Fashioned Horseplay and Why Every Kid Needs it, is a great book and a book you must buy if you’re a parent to boys. 

At times our 4 year old seems almost feral but such is the way of boys. They’ve got a lot of energy and hormones to work out of their system, at times it descends into random acts of violence. The most memorable instance of this was a trip to the Chiltern Open Air Museum. It was early and not many people were about, so when I was hailed by someone calling themselves the head of the friends of the museum, I walked over for a chat. As we were about to shake hands, the boy stepped out from behind me, punched me in the goolies hard and ran off. I doubled up on the floor wheezing, leaving the chap standing there looking a little confused.
So anything that gives me ideas on releasing the energy and aggression in a more controlled way is fine by me and thats where the Art of Roughhousing comes in. The book starts with a disclaimer about there being mild peril in some of the activities (and references the sledging down stairs on a mattress!) but does rightly go on to say that if you do anything slightly dangerous for long enough someone will eventually get hurt.
We are very risk adverse today, even though a lot of it is media lead hysteria. In light of that it’s nice to read a book that lets you rough and tumble with your kids but also tells you when to stop. The book has a few wordy chapters but is mostly made up of one page rough and tumble things to do, with an illustration, age range and description. It also tells you how long to do something for- for example all the upside down games should be limited with smaller kids due to the change in blood pressure inversion causes.
It was nice to see some of the things we’ve “invented” for ourselves in there too, and doubly nice to see we weren’t doing anything too dangerous. Art of Roughhousing is an essential read for anyone with boys, it retails for £9.99 but is available for a discount at stores like Amazon. Highly recommended.