Does taking away recess stop bad classroom behavior?

When you were a kid what was the one thing you looked forward to most in your school day? Recess. It’s about thirty minutes of running-around-monkey-bars-tag-playing joy! In my children’s school, taking it away is one of the first levels of consequences you’ll get for just about anything. In my day, you had to stand against the wall of the school building. Today, the kids get laps on the playground.

I get it. I really do. As a parent, an effective means of discipline is the take something of value away from the child. I’m the queen of American Girl dolls or iPod getting a time out for a day or two. For teachers, I’m not sure what there is to take away, other than recess. Yet when I see it in practice, I cringe.

Ethan is being antsy? There goes your time to work off some energy. Katelyn is being chatty? No talking with your friends during your break. It seems counter-intuitive, but what other options exist? I remember being kept after school but that was in a school district where parents either picked up their kids or the kids walked home. Today, if my children didn’t get off the school bus I would have a panic attack.

From a school staff member:

Our school does this, and I’m fine with it.  I’m a lunch supervisor and I’ve taken a kids lunch recess from them for repeatedly misbehaving.

That being said, at our school there are three recesses a day, 15 minutes in the morning, 30 minutes at lunch and 15 minutes in the afternoon. And the kids have gym every single day.  So for me, losing one of the recesses isn’t that bad. 

At our school it’s also not the first thing that is used, unless it’s a major discipline problem, like fighting.  The kids are given a few warnings before recess is taken. -beaner976

From a concerned mom:

I firmly believe kids need/deserve a break and time to play.  I told our teachers if they had a problem letting DS go out for recess – call me and I’d come pick him up, take him to lunch at the park and drop him back off.  I am never ok with taking away recess.  -deputy1079

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