Dad Review by David Hawkins
One of the easiest ways to give your kids a head start in life is simply to play with them. Luckily, that’s what ‘do dads’ do best!
Rough & tumble play has been shown to help children manage their emotions, display fewer negative behaviours, and to become more popular with their friends.
Let’s take a look at another simple and super fun game that you might like to try out with your kids.
If you have been playing along with me the past few issues, then you and your children have been having a blast in a big, active, rumble and tumble way.
The three games that we’ve looked at so far are great for kids who are a bit older and stronger, probably from around two years of age and up. But what about the younger kids? How can we give them the amazing benefits that come from taking part in rough and tumble play with their dad, their uncle or grandfather?
Stop the Giant is the perfect game that will allow you to play with your toddlers. Older pre-schoolers love it too. You are the Giant; an enormous, slow-moving creature who has to be stopped from standing up by some little heroes.
Start the game by lying face-down on the floor. Your child’s task is to do whatever they can to stop you from being able to make it up onto your feet. Perhaps they will sit on your back. They may lay on your legs. They might hang off your arms as you rise up. There is no wrong way to stop the Giant, as long as it is successful.
Stop the Giant really gives kids the chance to think creatively and strategically. As you start lying flat, they can work towards stopping you from moving your limbs or lifting up off your front. If you make it to your hands and knees, your child could try to bring you back down by removing your supporting arms and legs. If you rise up to your knees, the approach could be to topple you over by weighing you down.
The best thing about this game is the ability to adjust what you are doing to meet the physical capabilities of your child. For those who are just learning to walk, you can move very slowly and avoid knocking them over too easily. For the older toddler, you can shake and twist with the intention of sending them tumbling over.
Rough and tumble play doesn’t have to be a BIG event all of the time. In fact, research shows that children benefit from little bits of play, on a regular basis.You can play Stop the Giant for a few minutes in the lounge room, at the park, on the trampoline; anywhere at all.
Here are the top tips for making the most out of the Stop he Giant game:
Step 1 Take turns at winning
You know that there is no way that your child can actually stop you from standing up. But the magic of Stop the Giant is that this game gives children the feeling of being able to overcome insurmountable odds. When you let your child win, you allow them to imagine that they are a superhero – like Superman knocking over a towering robot. But only let them win about half of the time. You want your children to earn their victories.
Step 2 Play safe
As the dad, it is your job to set safety boundaries that ensure that neither you nor your children will get hurt. Helping your child understand how to play without hurting others will make sure that they are popular at school and other kids want to play with them.
Step 3 Never get angry
Playtime should always be fun and never involve aggression, shouting, shaming, or telling off. It is very important that dad-play is a safe space emotionally as well physically. If you get an accidental foot in the testicles, take a breath and explain calmly how that action hurt you and how your child can try to avoid doing that again.
Step 4 Celebrate!
When you let your kids win, turn the moment into a BIG celebration. Clap, cheer, spin them in the air, get them to run and tell Mum what they just achieved. Play a part in their imagination and support the development of their confidence.
David Hawkins is a Peninsula-based stay-at-home-dad who realised that he needed to improve his Dadding. So he set himself the simple task of being an Awesome Dad. He now challenges all dads to be awesome dads, by doing something out-of-the ordinary with their kids.