Incorporating breaks throughout the school day is super important, especially during COVID-19 as most of the students are starting out with virtual learning.  Sitting at a computer for long periods of time can be very tiresome and stressful.

Here are some benefits from taking short learning breaks:

  • Increases productivity
  • Increases attention
  • Boosts brain function
  • Decreases stress and anxiety
  • Improves self-regulation
  • Improves staying motivated

The key is taking breaks before fatigue, distraction or lack of focus sets in.  This is typically after 10-15 minutes of work for grade-schoolers and after 20-30 minutes for middle- and high-schoolers.  Breaks can be anywhere from 2-10 minutes, depending on what your child needs.

Brain breaks can be active, but also can be relaxing and quiet.  Here are a few options to help your child during the school day, especially if there are no guided breaks from teachers.

Here are some examples of movement activities:

  • Create a “Brain Break Jar” filled with quick activities you can pull out for a wiggle break (ex. 20 jumping jacks, 15 wall push-ups, running in place for 20 seconds, collect 5 red items from around the house)
  • Yoga poses (butterfly, cat, cow, downward dog, cobra, child, etc.)
  • Animal walks (bear, frog, stand like a flamingo, alligator chomps, elephants stomps, horse gallops, etc.)
  • Snow angels on the floor
  • Rocket ship jumps (bend down, touch toes, count down from 5 or 10, then jump up on “blast off.”
  • Dance to a favorite song
  • Go Noodle
  • Cosmic Kids Yoga

Here are some examples of calming and relaxing activities:

  • Deep breathing
  • Stretching
  • Take a doodle break
  • Take a break doing nothing, while lying on the couch or somewhere comfy
  • Listen to calming music


By: Stacy Dettmann, COTA/L