My third grade son does not always get all his work done on time in the classroom. At times, he is apparently restless and does not behave as well as he should. What happens at least once or twice a week is that he is denied recess for these behaviors. Is this a wise punishment for not completing work or goofing off in the classroom? -- No Recess


Little boys are notorious for being restless. Cooping them up in the classroom as a punishment just isn't smart. Recess lets all children, especially boys, burn off their energy. In fact, creative teachers find ways to increase children's activity levels in the classroom. It is not surprising that research shows that children act out less frequently when they are more active and have recess.

Not getting his work done is another issue. Instead of punishing your child, the teacher should be searching for the underlying cause and developing strategies to address it. Recess even contributes positively to academic performance.

Talk to your son's teacher about how punishing your child by taking away recess for not getting work done or misbehaving has not been successful. Suggest that more activity such as running errands or getting out supplies might make him less restless, along with having recess every day. Also, be sure to find out what is stopping your child from getting his work done on time. Perhaps there are skills that you could work on improving with him.

Finally, if this teacher is adamant about denying recess to children, find out what the school's policy is on recess. If there is no policy, the parent/teacher organization should work on implementing one. Having recess is not only important for academic and behavioral reasons, it also contributes to helping children develop and sharpen their social skills. Recess has been called the pause that refreshes.