Parenting: The importance of recess

Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Parenting: The importance of recess

During these snowy school days, my son hasn't had a lot of recess outside - but he has had recess.

I was glad to hear that on days when it was too cold for the kids to hit the playground, they would instead have some type of recess in the school gym.

Some schools I've found don't have recess at all if its too cold to go outside, preferring to instead extend lunch period in the cafeteria, or perhaps a quiet activity in the library. But more and more parents and educators have come to the conclusion that recess or some type of playtime or exercise during school hours, is not only good for the kids - it is a necessity.

So make sure your child's school isn't skimping on your child's downtime during the winter time. Experts say recess is just as important to a youngster's school day as the reading, writing and arithmetic (the 4 R's). After all, who doesn't need a midday respite from the office or the classroom? I know I do.

A recent study by pediatric researchers showed that kids who had at least 15 minutes of recess a day, behaved better in class (and at home later).

It also found that children who are able to give their brains a break from classroom concentration, perform better at reading and on tests later.

Recess also appears to be the most efficient way to keep kids active. According to a study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, almost half of the nation's schoolchildren get most of their total daily exercise at recess. That's more than in gym or after school programs.

Needless to say, it's a valuable way to get our children moving. Not to mention the social skills and life lessons a child can learn on the playground.

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