This article by Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post is a fantastic discussion of a growing problem in American society: restricting children’s activity levels and overdiagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
I recently observed a fifth grade classroom as a favor to a teacher. I quietly went in and took a seat towards the back of the classroom. The teacher was reading a book to the children and it was towards the end of the day. I’ve never seen anything like it. Kids were tilting back their chairs back at extreme angles, others were rocking their bodies back and forth, a few were chewing on the ends of their pencils, and one child was hitting a water bottle against her forehead in a rhythmic pattern.
My mother, who works in the public school system as a special educator, recently relayed to me that Kindergarten students are now being put in desks. Combine this with the prevalent decreasing of recess time across America, a culture that deprioritizes physical activity over textbook education, and a record-setting reliance on prescription drugs and we’ve got a big problem on our hands.
The solution? Parents should allow children to play as children often do; school systems should prioritize physical education (you shouldn’t be allowed to pass the first grade unless you can pick up your backpack with a flat back; also, take away the desks), and we as a society should stop resorting to a pharmaceutical cure for problems that our modern lifestyle has created.