swords & roughhousing? Hmm...

I have (thankfully) gotten to the point where I can give my reasoning for what I allow my kids or kids in my dayhome to do or not to do ( ie. taking risks etc), without getting defensive. Roughhousing, like risk-taking is a topic that's not always a popular thing. The concerns are always the same - kids getting hurt, and learning "how" to be violent. 

I will be the first to admit that a good amount of time is needed to allow kids to do just about anything, and when kids are energized to the max, getting them to come down can be oh so difficult. Essentially, I understand on many levels why people are uncomfortable with roughhousing and letting kids play with "weapons".

Anyways, the boys asked me a few weeks ago if we could make swords. This post would have been appropriate at the time as I was not into the idea of exposing other people's children to roughhousing (or) violent play.

I was even more torn over the whole topic of violence, and questioning the things that I do with other peoples' children etc etc. I went online and looked at the pros and cons...I liked this article. Eventually, I talked to them (the boys) about the importance of play, and when playing is not playing anymore (ie. hurting others), and I helped them make their swords.

And let's be honest, when a child has a toy sword, the first thing we think about is violence. But seriously...really? Let's get back to reality, any toy can be used as a "weapon". For instance, I cannot think of how many times my little Z pulled apart her brother's train tracks and hit him over the head or across the face...OK, I can, it was about 4 times, but that was enough for a lifetime. So, assuming that violent toys make kids violent? Well, that's a post for another day. 

For now, I want to affirm that I have some pretty awesome kids here. I am helping them navigate the world of playing. They are learning limits, and empathy too. They are becoming more aware of communicating with their peers. 

There are rules of course:
  • the swords (specifically) can only be used outside - I let the boys put them away when we are finished with outside play
  • never point or throw any object or toy in the face
  • if someone gets hurt *accidentally or not, please STOP right away, and make sure they are okay
  • we always use and listen for words like "i don't like that", "stop/no more" and "that hurts"
  • and one great benefit of having smaller friends around? watching out for others always.
I think we have a pretty good system here...I don't think it works for everyone - we've had to figure out what works for our group. Oh, and we so do not give kids enough credit...they are so much smarter than we think.

Interestingly, my daughter Iman took it even further and did some story-telling/acting out with the boys this week, which I thought was awesome.They got to role-play, and release a lot of energy.
 I don't know what else to say...

sharing with country kids

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Marie Kl├ęber at: June 28, 2015 at 6:19 AM said...

Explaining things is definitely important and setting the limits. After you have to see what works...Great post Salma.

Coombe Mill at: June 28, 2015 at 2:53 PM said...

I think your attitude is very sensible, mine have always adored sword play and it has never been an issue. Since I can remember they have made swords from sticks and wood, bought plastic ones with pocket money and asked every balloon man to make a sword for them. They role play and play fighting it encourages I have always seen as just that. I believe in stating the obvious for kids and then trusting them to obey the rules. It looks like your boys had a wonderful time in their imaginary play world. Thank you for sharing with me on Country Kids

Anonymous at: June 29, 2015 at 4:11 AM said...

We actually have no sword in the house yet. But my husband and son loves to play rough. I think its time for my son to start playing with swords. I dont know how to introduce it to him though. #countrykids

Salma Saquaf at: June 29, 2015 at 1:04 PM said...

Marie - limits first - in everything I think.

Fiona - It's an imaginary world, yes, that's the importance. It's an escape for them.

Pixiedust - I don't know if I would have ever said, ok, it's time to play with swords, but once they asked, I wanted to see how we could do it.
Come back and let me know when you've made your sword...would love to see it.

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