Everybody needs a break sometimes - especially children! Otherwise known as ‘mental breaks’, put simply, brain breaks are taking a short break during periods of intense focus which comes with a huge range of benefits for kids. This can include helping to reduce feelings of frustration, stress and anxiety, while also improving focus, attention, and retention. Here’s 7 brain breaks that are sure to help your child re-energise and refocus for their next activity.
Why Are Brain Breaks Important?
Working for long periods of time can often lead to feelings of fatigue, stress, and frustration, especially for children. Being sure to schedule regular 5-10-minute breaks allows your child’s brain to rest before fatigue and frustration sets in. Brain breaks have also been shown to:
- Improve attention and focus
- Increase retention of material being taught
- Improve emotional regulation
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Reduce frustration and behavioural issues
- Increase motivation levels
As you’ll see from the 7 choices below, brain breaks come in different forms. Sometimes all children need to do is stand up and move their bodies if they’ve been seated for a while. Other times, a calming activity may suit them better. We recommend before deciding on a specific activity to try at home to consider how demanding your child’s day has been and what type of break they need at that moment.
1) Have A 5 Minute Dance Party
A great impromptu way to help your students burn off energy is to play some of their favourite music and have a spontaneous dance party. This is a great way to help children get their wiggles out to help promote focus, and it also helps reset their mood too.
2) Use An Active App
The amazing free app from Sanford Fit called fitBoost, is an excellent option for your child to take a more active approach to a brain break. Simply click ‘Let’s Go!’ and it’ll give your child three fun moves designed to get them warmed up, moving, and cooled down- perfect for physical fitness and mental alertness. There are even some easy-to-print cards with plenty of action-packed brain breaks that you can always have to hand too!
3) Do Some Colouring/Doodling
A fun and relaxing brain break for childrenis to do some doodling or colouring. Colouring can be a very calming and therapeutic activity and doodling gives your kids time to embrace being creative and draw anything they want.
4) Take A Meditation Break
Meditation is a popular way to reduce anxiety and another great 10-minute brain break choice for kids. Not only can it really calm the mind, but completely reset kids for their next activity. We love this 10 minute meditation for kids YouTube video or Headspace has a whole section in their app just for kids. With guided short meditations for all ages and scenarios- there’s meditations for things like ‘Paying Attention’, ‘Going To Sleep’ and ‘Staying Positive.’
5) Take A Calming Yoga Break
If your child needs a calmer brain break, then doing 5-10 minutes of yoga is a great option. We love the fitFlow Yoga For Kids website, which gives kids pictures and descriptions of 4 yoga poses, which take around 3-5 minutes to complete. There are also free printable yoga pose cards, if your child wants to create their own yoga flow routine. If your kids work better with a watch along video, this 10-minute Yoga For The Classroom - Yoga With Adriene is a fantastic choice!
6) Reading A Book/Listening To An Audio Book
Listening to an audio book or reading a story is the perfect short brain break to really help kids switch off from ‘real life’. The process of letting their brain completely wander into a different world helps them recharge and be able to refocus their attention much easier afterwards.
7) Go Outside
Going and spending a short break outside is a wonderful way for any child to enjoy time away from studying. Not only does fresh air always feel invigorating, they can choose whether they want to run around, go for a walk or just see what they can spot- whether this is different types of birds or trees- it makes breaktime fun but also active too.