The Mental Health Benefits of Regular Recess

Recess is such a fond memory for children all around the world, but it is a dying art. Many schools have downgraded from not two, but one recess, which gets increasingly shorter. The business model education platform is increasingly about demonstrable gains in standardized test scores, which leads to administrations thinking that more time studying is needed. However, the inverse is true! What are the mental health benefits of a regular recess, and how can you encourage your school to adopt healthy recess practices?

Emotional Mastery

One of the greatest benefits of the possibility of education is being around peers, whether in a public, private, charter, or homeschool setting. This is one of the reasons that pandemic education was so difficult for children! Communication skills and socialization are learned on playgrounds across the nation. According to Leader in Me, this can lead to greater emotional intelligence and mastery, as children learn to practice the art of friendship and playing with one another. Leadership skills are learned and practiced on the playground.

A Happier State of Mind

According to Stellar Kids Dentistry, on average, children smile 400 times every day, so they're probably smiling a lot more often than not. Adults know that exercise leads to endorphins, and endorphins lead to more exercise, better heart health, lowered blood pressure, and other body-healthy changes. Children don’t know this, but they do know that running around feels great! The ongoing benefit of this great feeling is that when they do get back into classrooms, exhausted and happy, they also have greater endorphins built up to be able to do their work, which causes it to be more likely programmed into their long term memories.


Adults often have the mindset that we do what we need to do first, and then save some spare time after for play or enjoyment. Unfortunately, according to Edutopia, this is the opposite of what children need to regulate concentration and focus! Vestibular play, such as spinning, running, swinging, sliding down slides, and the like, regulates several mental functions, one of which lessens ADHD effects! Adults who learn to walk on their lunch breaks to wake themselves back up in the afternoon have rediscovered this joy!

Encourage your school by showing leadership in the ongoing research involved in brain health and recess. Not only will your children be healthier and happier, but they will do better at school. And, learning extra leadership skills along the way is never a bad idea!

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