Are Kids Getting Enough Recess at School?

For many of us, recess is one of the the more memorable staples of our early childhood school experience, along with long summers and sweet treats. For many kids, recess is the most anticipated part of the day, but in many schools recess only comes once a day given that the weather allows it. As schools across the country are looking for ways to improve the experiences that they are providing for their students, one school in Texas has taken recess to a whole new level.

For the most part, schools tend to offer recess for children once a day around lunchtime. Oftentimes, the scheduling of recess relies on the weather, indoor space, and other scheduled school activities, but at Eagle Mountain Elementary in Fort Worth, Texas, recess knows no bounds.

At Eagle Mountain Elementary, kids have several recess sessions: The youngest kids at this school now enjoy two 15-minute breaks in the morning and two in the afternoon. That makes for a total of one hour of recess a day, which is three times longer than they used to get.

The faculty and the staff were anxious about enforcing the change, but they have found that increased recess time has actually improved their students’ overall performance.  They also found that their students are more focused and less fidgety, contrary to what most will think when giving kids too many breaks, that they would lose focus.

The secret behind this success?

According to Debbie Rhea, a kinesiology professor at Texas Christian University, allowing kids time to run around, play, and be generally active can help children focus better once they’re back in class. Rhea is actually the creator of LiiNK, a new program that boosts the amount of recess for the youngest students. The goal of the program is to allow kids the time to “reboot”, helping them function at their best level.

With lessened activity, children are more likely to become fidgety, impatient, and even to misbehave. By allowing kids to release their excess of energy in a healthy and positive manner, issues that teachers normally face are less likely to occur or affect their students.

The idea of “rebooting” is not a foreign one. Have you ever been told that taking breaks while studying or working can actually help increase your productivity as well as your brain’s ability to intake and retain information? Much of the same principles apply. By allowing kids to take a break and move around, they are more likely to willingly devote their attentions to more sedentary activities while also gaining more from the experiences overall.

Staying active has benefits when it comes to health, as well, which is a major concern for American children in particular. Putting more of a positive emphasis on recess can help to encourage more active lifestyles and healthy living while also improving a child’s overall academic performance.

Did you like this article? Feel free to pass along and let’s start a movement on bringing recess back to schools and making them for longer periods.

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Why Your Kids Should Go Bike Riding This Summer and the Lessons They’ll Learn

Aside from learning to walk and talk, one of the more formidable moments of a child’s young life is when they first learn to ride a bike. Bicycling is a great pastime for children, and it can grow into a lifelong interest as well, whether they continue to love leisurely riding a cruiser or taking up mountain biking or speed cycling as adults. But learning to ride a bike as a child is more than just a Hallmark milestone; learning to ride a bike can help improve a child’s coordination, it can foster a sense of independence and individual capability, it can help encourage them to stay active and exercise, and it can also teach them about the importance of safety.

Most children start out on a tricycle or a two-wheeler fitted with training wheels. These types of bikes provide balance so that children can ride safely while they build their own sense of skill and prowess. When a child is ready they can upgrade to a two-wheeler, free of any support, and ride on their own. This progression definitely takes practice, but it also takes a sense of courage as well. Physically riding a bike takes a lot of coordination and thought, especially early on, so by learning to ride a bike children are utilizing these important parts of their brain in order to propel themselves forward.

Practice makes perfect! Leveling up to a two-wheeler can help provide kids with a tangible goal that they can strive for, which can help kids when they set goals for themselves throughout their lives as well. Therefore, kids will have to develop their skills and improve their balance and coordination, they will be improving their mental-physical relationship while learning to meet a goal, and gaining a sense of independence and accomplishment once they successfully do so.

Biking can help teach other important lessons, too. Cycling is a physical activity and can be a great outdoor activity during all seasons even the winter months. It is becoming increasingly important that parents find ways to keep kids active, especially with the rising obesity problem in the US, and bicycling can help keep kids on the move. Not only is it fun, it keeps them physically active and gives them plenty of exercise.

In order to ride a bike safely, kids will also need to learn about the safety measures they need to take while cycling. This skill-set will apply to various other aspects of life, even if the safety measures and rule are not exactly the same. Kids should definitely wear a well-fitted helmet, and elbow pads, kneepads, and even gloves should be considered as well. Aside from wearing the proper equipment, as well as the appropriate clothing and footwear, kids should also know how they should treat certain potential incidents such as if they cannot brake or if they lose control of the handlebars for any reason or if they fall. The goal is to get kids to practice safety and bike well, but accidents happen and it is important that kids know exactly what to do in these situations so they understand how to prevent injury in themselves as well as others.

There are many benefits to teaching your child how to bike. It can help teach them a variety of different life lessons and skills while also being fun and active. And you never know, biking and cycling may just become a lifelong hobby of theirs for years to come. So make sure to grab your bikes as a family and enjoy the summer!

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Tips on Getting Your Kids Outside

Now that spring is finally here, spending time outdoors is a reasonable thing to do. Long winters can have anyone, especially kids, feeling cooped up – but these days it may be a little more difficult to get kids to play outside. Aside from growing comfortable indoors over the long, cold winter, there are so more gadgets these days that draw kids to spending time indoors. From televisions to tablets, kids have a wealth of different things to do when indoors, and while some kids are simply eager to run around and play outside, for others it may be a little harder to pry them from their precious screens.
Staying indoors is fine, but getting some fresh air and exercise is good for your health, especially for a child’s. Considering the growing problem of childhood obesity and other such concerns, it’s important that parents make sure that their kids are active enough and enjoying the outdoors as well. Tablets, television shows and books can be good, especially if there is a creative or educational element to them, however being active is also important.  What better way to get kids to play than entice them with going outside?

If your child is reluctant to go outdoors, you can begin by simply moving their usual indoor activities outdoors. Bring books and tablets out into the yard or to the park. Kids are still getting fresh air but just by simply being outside they may eventually feel tempted to run around a bit or participate in games with other children if they happen to be around. You could also use their favorite sedentary activities to inform ideas for more active ones. For instance, if your child loves a show that is about animals that live in the woods, you can entice them with a hike through a national park or local forest trail that you can explore, or even have a pick nick at a woodsy park. If sports are a favorite then try asking them to play or to even teach you what they know. If kids are really into tablet games, you can try and role-play and recreate the game in real life! For instance, if your kids love Angry Birds, you can set up Lego structures with stuffed animals scattered throughout – then you can try and throw soft balls such as hackie sacks at the structures in order to knock them down! This can be a great backyard activity that can get kids moving and playing outside. publishes personalized children’s books, gifts, reading and parenting resources.