Kids Need Recess

Recess is going the way of the dinosaur at many schools, and America’s pediatricians are worried.

According to a story on, doctors say recess can be as important as class time for helping students perform their best.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a new policy statement on recess, saying it can be a critical time for development and social interaction.

Dr. Robert Murray, a pediatrician and professor of human nutrition at Ohio State University who is a co-author of the statement. He says “Children need to have downtime between complex cognitive challenges.”

“They tend to be less able to process information the longer they are held to a task. It’s not enough to just switch from math to English. You actually have to take a break.”

The AAP committee that developed the statement discovered that the benefits of recess extend beyond the physical. They found that it affects social, emotional and cognitive development, helps kids practice conflict resolution, and lets them come back to class more ready to learn and less fidgety.

The Time article points out that new policy could be a lifeline for the diminishing role recess plays in the school day. Many districts have trimmed budgets and hours of instruction, squeezing more academic subjects into existing or even fewer school days. Recess often gets sacrificed in the process.

Last year a national survey found that just six states adhere to standards from the National Association for Sports and Physical Education. That group recommends that schoolchildren participate in 150 minutes a week of physical education.

To learn more about the pediatricians’ new recommendations on recess, visit the Academy’s website at

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

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