Recess a Crucial Part of School Day, Says American Academy of Pediatrics

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Recess is an essential part of a child’s school day that should never be taken away as punishment if a kid misbehaves or has poor academic performance, the American Academy of Pediatrics said Monday.

The academy released its first ever position policy on recess in school, which it calls a necessary break from the physical and mental demands of a typical day at school. The statement, which was published online Dec. 31 in Pediatrics, adds that recess should be a period of free, unstructured play.

Children may gain cognitive, physical, emotional and social benefits from the daily activity as well, according to the statement.

Policy co-author Dr. Robert Murray, a professor of pediatric nutrition at The Ohio State University, told that children — like adults — need ample time to decompress and process new information throughout a busy day.

“Kids do much better when they get breaks in the day,” he said.