Recess is a necessary for children’s development and should not be removed or replaced in the school day, according to a new policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Recess gives children time to rest, play, exercise and socialize, yet many schools are replacing it with more time for academic pursuits. Giving children a break not only allows them to return to class more attentive, but also ensures better classroom performance.
As a pediatrician and mother, I appreciate that the AAP has taken a stand on this topic. Obesity is an epidemic in America. Playtime is vital to kids’ overall health because it allows them to move and exercise, helping to fulfill part of their recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity. The pressures of school life have intensified for children and illnesses related to stress and anxiety are much more common in pediatricians’ offices. Recess is an important part of the school day that allows children to de-stress and just be children.