Is your child with ADHD checking their phone 70-100 times per day? Are you? How does this connect to the importance of recess and creativity?

The TED talk by Manoush Zomorodi called “How boredom can lead to your most brilliant ideas” is a real must watch for parents worried about their children and their smartphones…and even for themselves! The ADHD brain is often easily lit up by things that excite them or that are novel. This is why technology is so appealing and even addictive to the ADHD brain. Manoush Zomorodi talks about how our most brilliant ideas come about when we are bored. How do we achieve boredom? When we are doing monotonous or repetitive tasks such as walking, colouring, folding laundry or running! These and other repetitive tasks can bring about space for our minds to wander. Manoush talks about repetitive tasks bringing us to an almost subconscious level where we can often daydream and actually come up with new ideas.

Often the ADHD brain can be extremely creative and some of the greatest minds and entrepreneurs of our world have ADHD but what happens when we are constantly connected to our phone? The answer is less creativity.

Take this a step further and ask yourself; How does this connect to the importance of recess for our children? Unfortunately, many children with ADHD are the recipients of consequences at school such as losing out on recess due to problem behaviours or because they didn’t finish their classwork on time. This is probably the last thing that their brains need to refocus. In fact, we know that time outside in free play is an essential part of our children’s brains integrating what they have learned. This TED talk explains some of the science behind our brains needing time doing “nothing”.

If you are a teacher or educator and are tempted to take away a child’s recess to catch up or as a consequence…think again and remember that children need time in free play and doing “nothing” to help them be creative and to integrate new concepts they have learned in school.

Having worked as an Occupational Therapist in the school system in Quebec for years I do realize the challenge that teachers have in trying to accommodate the increase in recess time for students in an already packed day. Constantly having to have little children dress and undress in a school day, especially in winter, eats into a lot of learning time. But maybe, after watching this TED talk and in understanding a little more how the brain learns we may be able to take a step back and realize that more recess time might actually improve children’s school grades, even if they are spending less time in the classroom!