When Playtime Gets Too Rough

What to do when your kindergartner gets overexcited while playing with a sibling.
By Elena Jeffries, PhD
Nov 28, 2012

Ages

5-6


Nov 28, 2012

Whether it’s with an overly exuberant hug, playful sparring, or an enraged shove, your kindergartner may sometimes get too rough with her younger siblings. There are many reasons. For starters, older siblings do not always realize their own strength. Kindergartners are still learning to control their impulses and respect other people’s personal space. Even loving hugs can sometimes become overpowering.

During rough-and-tumble play, kids can get wound up and have trouble settling down. While you’ll need to set limits and supervise, you shouldn’t necessarily ban roughhousing. This type of play includes significant benefits — exercise, a physical outlet for excess energy, and an opportunity for bonding and intimacy.

Kindergartners may resort to aggression when they can’t manage their frustration or use their words to resolve disagreements. Due to different needs, maturity levels, and personalities, it’s normal for siblings to tussle. When your kids do, give them time to cool off and don’t get caught up in the blame game. When they come back together, validate their individual feelings and help them work together to solve the problem.

Quick Tips

  • Role-play: Use dolls to demonstrate safe and comfortable ways to show affection.
  • Take it easy: Schedule quiet time so your child can recharge.

Plus:
The New Bullying Epidemic: When Siblings Bully
How to Avoid Sibling Rivalry
Why kids don't listen

Photo Credit: Jill Tindall/Getty Images

Raising Kids
Age 6
Age 5
Siblings
Aggression