The Value of Fighting

Tanya Kemp
The Value of Fighting….

10 minutes of pillow-fighting/roughhousing/play wrestling 

with your child every day.

This type of play is really beneficial for children developmentally and relationally – particularly when you have a child of the anxious kind. Getting into this type of play both connects you with your child and offers opportunity for sensory input, coregulation, collaboration and coordination. It is more like a dance, than anything else – requiring constant dynamic adjustments, anticipation, surprise, and hopefully lots of laughter. As a parent, you won’t whack your child with a pillow as hard as you are capable of – you will adjust your strength to match that of your child. These are important foundational steps in understanding that this is a different kind of fairness, empathy, adjustment of self to make a game more fun and accessible for both partners. It gives the child an opportunity to be competent and grow in confidence too when they sometimes get the upper hand!

So you can do playful arm wrestles, or standing up – pushing hands into each other’s, seeing who can push the other backward. As the parent you push back with the same force that your child is applying, build anticipation, give way a little bit, take a bit of a lead – back and forth…until finally someone wins! You hug, laugh and go at it again. The variations are endless. 

Doing an activity like this is great to do before school work/focus is required – or as a frustration break when things aren’t going according to plan – think heavy work and proprioceptive input ☺

There you go – action and connection all rolled into one!


Check in with yourself.  How are you holding up? When last did you take some time for you. Negotiate a ‘rest(oration)’ deal with your partner. 

It really shouldn’t be something that is optional.