Why Anxious Children Need Recess

Schools are playing around with a real bad idea that can be especially detrimental to anxious children. Certain educational facilities are treating recess as something kids can do without, or even making it a reward rather than a regular part of the day open to all kids, all the time.

The trend not only stinks, but it can be harmful for anxious kids’ growth and development, according to a new policy statement published in Pediatrics. 

An article in WebMD.com quotes one of the docs who helped write the policy statement:

“There is pressure on schools to increase performance on standardized testing, and a lot of times teachers are using withdrawal of recess as a punishment for children,” says Robert Murray, MD, a co-author of the recess policy statement and a professor at the Ohio State University in Columbus.

“Recess is an important part of the school day that should not be cast off without thinking,” he says. 

It is not a reward, he says. Recess is necessary and important to help children learn and grow.  

“No matter what kind of recess, whether indoors or outdoors, structured or unstructured, kids need a safe place to play,” Murray says. “And the equipment should be good and people who supervise should be well-trained.”

Safety, of course, is a must, but so is giving anxious children the time to unwind, explore, interact and play, all functions fulfilled by recess. Check out your own child’s school recess policy and make sure it sticks around through the new year and beyond.

Read the full WebMD.com article: http://children.webmd.com/news/20121228/pediatricians-promote-recess