Dad Days of Summer: While Momania’s Theresa Walsh Giarrusso takes a vacation, local dad and sportswriter Andy Johnston will be filling in. You can e-mail him at email@example.com.
Recess sure has changed since some of us were kids.
That once glorious time that allowed us to run free, climb, slide and explore our imaginations has become one filled with rules and regulations.
I knew recess is different now. I mean, we used to try to bean each other those red rubber balls in a game we called battle ball.
It resembled dodge ball in that Ben Stiller flick from a few years ago, but imagine it with about 20 excited third-graders on each side with what seemed like hundreds of red blurs flying at you from every angle.
One of Theresa’s loyal readers sent this link to a story on Shine.yahoo.com that shows just how much play has been taken from our kids’ playground.
Equipment doesn’t provide the challenges we overcame. All kinds of sports and activities have been banned from recess throughout the country. There’s no contact, no swings, no climbing. The reader who sent the link said her school district has banned tag and running at recess.
Basically, there’s no fun.
And it appears the kids are paying the price, according to Alex Gilliam, an architect, and other experts quoted in the piece and a New York Times article.
Moreover, while many parents worry that a bad fall could lead to a life-long fear of heights, the New York Times points out that the opposite is actually the case: Studies have shown that “a child who’s hurt in a fall before the age of 9 is less likely as a teenager to have a fear of heights.”
“Paradoxically, we posit that our fear of children being harmed by mostly harmless injuries may result in more fearful children and increased levels of psychopathology,” (Dr. Ellen) Sandseter and her colleague, psychologist Leif Kennair of the Norwegian University for Science and Technology, write in the journal Evolutionary Psychology.
Gilliam sums it up this way: “The whole notion of protecting kids has kind of backfired.”
He added: “We carp, as adults, all the time that we’ve lost our kids to video games, we’ve lost our kids to TV. Of course we have. We’ve made the world, the physical landscape, so boring to kids that of course a video game is going to feel more stimulating.”
What is off limits to the kids where you live?
Do you think recess has become too tame?
Have school districts gone too far?
- By Andy Johnston, for the Momania blog