Most of you that are reading this remember going to school and enjoying recess breaks a few times a day. This was a fun break from school work where you got to run around and talk with your friends, all without the pressures from the classroom. There has been a movement over the past decade to minimize recess-like time from school, however, physical activity can actually improve your child’s academic performance!
When children are in a classroom they are expected to sit still and concentrate on the lesson at hand. The larger the classroom, the less room for distraction there can be. For some kids, this is not difficult to comply with, but other children need an outlet for their energy. If your child is particularly energetic, they may struggle to pay attention in class without a break.
Some schools are paying attention to this, such as Naperville Central High School west of Chicago, which started sending kids to gym class before subjects like math and science. The idea was to let children burn off excess energy before they were asked to sit down and concentrate on difficult material. Their success gives districts around the nation something to think about as they design their curriculum.
Another benefit of physical activity is that it gives children a healthy outlet for their stress. School aged children are under more stress than ever, from peer-to-peer stress to academic and personal pressure,it’s tough to be a kid these days! Movement, free of the constraints of a classroom, is a healthy way to let go of some of that pressure. If you enjoy hitting the gym, jogging or playing a sport on the weekend, you’ll understand this correlation!
So encourage your school aged kids to get up and move. Make sure they have outdoor time when they are not in class and give them some physical outlets free from the school environment. Not only will it help their health, it just might help improve their academic results as well!