Bundle of Joy


Simon Lumsdon.jpg




Our friends stateside call it ‘rough-housing’, in our family we say ‘bundle’ and the casual onlooker could call it carnage.  Whatever you call it – it’s fun and I love ‘bundling’ the kids.

The event follows a typical process which usually involves me initiating some rib-tickling in the children to much hilarity and squirming.  A fight back ensues usual ending up with me on the floor, being dived up from all angles and some rib-jiggling revenge.

It’s more like being poked/punched/scratched

They haven’t quite mastered the tickle yet so it’s more like being poked/punched/scratched in the ribs but I don’t mind one bit.  Oh and there’s usually some point where I’m ridden like a donkey around the living room.

Since coming to write this blog I have discovered from the Google machine there are actually some broader benefits to my children’s overall health and well-being from all this horse play so I thought I would share them with you.

Develops Emotional Intelligence

My children learn to read & react to each other’s body language and of course verbal communication too.  They can tell if we are all having fun or if someone is going too far and they need to pull back the intensity.

Good for the Brain

Having dabbled with science at university some 10 years ago I still consider myself an expert on all things biological so I was very sceptical when reading another bundling advocate’s blog that the humble bundle releases something called ‘brain-derived neurotrophic factor’ (BDNF).

I’d not even heard of such a thing.. but it’s supposed to be good for brain development, memory and all sorts of useful stuff.  In any case a quick check on Wikipedia proves my fellow advocate correct, but being the good scientist I also double checked on Google Scholar – references cited at the end!

Modelling Self-Control

My dog loves a bundle too.  She always has even since she was a pup.  We got her from my cousin who looks after other people’s dogs while they are at work so she always had bigger (sometimes much bigger) dogs around her.  I remember seeing her when she still lived with my cousin and watching her play and interact with the bigger dogs.  The bigger dogs would often hold back from their full strength, mindful of this little pup’s limitations.

I do the same with my kids.  I could go all out in some sort of WWE extravaganza – flying elbow drop from the top of the mantel piece – but that bring with it a raft of problems.  Rather I hold back.

In their book ‘Art of Roughhousing: Good Old Fashioned Horseplay and Why Every Kid Needs it’ authors DeBenedet and Cohen write on this topic;

“When we roughhouse with our kids, we model for them how someone bigger and stronger holds back. We teach them self-control, fairness, and empathy. We let them win, which gives them confidence and demonstrates that winning isn’t everything. We show them how much can be accomplished by cooperation and how to constructively channel competitive energy so that it doesn’t take over.”

Is all this a little overthought?  Perhaps.. but all-in-all I think the good old bundle is a jolly good idea and certainly here to stay, at least in my house.


By Simon Lumsdon



For those who need proof:






Photo credit:  Gregory Go (edited)