Homework, school activities, tutors, basketball, baseball, soccer, lacrosse, dance, music lessons, extra-help, school clubs, and maybe just enough time to have a 5-minute after school snack. Our children are too busy! At lunch the other day, a friend was expressing her frustration that in her high school, students are not assigned a lunch period unless specifically requested by the parents. Evidently, a majority of parents at her school believe that taking a lunch period is a waste of time for their kids, when instead they could be taking an extra academic class. She explained that this has become a new trend amongst some schools today. WHAT!?!
What ever happened to socialization and meeting new people as a critical part of a child’s school experience? I remember looking forward to my break at lunch. My lunch period was the first thing I looked for when my schedule arrived in the mail. Lunchtime was a time to decompress, hang out with friends, flirt with boys, and talk about our plans for the weekend. I can’t imagine skipping that much needed break of just chilling out for 40 minutes before getting back to focusing in a classroom. Even as adults we make time to take a break, text or make a few phone calls, and just check in with the real world during the day. Not to mention that food refuels our bodies so we have energy to keep on going. It’s this lunch break that relaxes us, recharges us and keeps us healthy. Adolescents and teenagers especially need this extra time, as they are growing, developing, stressed out, hormonal, and exhausted from their often over-scheduled lives.
Let’s sit down with our kids, spouses, guidance counselors, and teachers, and ask them how they feel. Tell them that it’s ok to take a lunch break from all their daily pressure and just be a kid. Let them hear you say its OK to take a pause from their day to have a snack, talk to a friend, and just be.
Are we as parents creating a generation of competitive children that don’t believe they are entitled to a break? I hope not. As a mom to 3 kids, who are 12, 10 and 7, I value how important education is. I also know how important it is to raise happy and healthy kids that will not burn out, but rather thrive down the road. It’s a long road... pace yourselves.