It’s inevitable that children will face some kind of struggle with their homework from time to time. It is only natural, as challenges should be embraced for a child’s growth and development. However, the frustration that children may feel during these challenges is understandable.
One of the answers to relieve such frustrations is by allowing children to take brain breaks during their homework assignments and/or extensive chores. What is a brain break, you might ask? Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like: a brief moment of time away from whatever your child may be focusing on.
As one may surmise, brain breaks come with a multitude of benefits for your child!
Brain breaks can help:
- Reduce frustration, stress, and anxiety.
- Improve focus and productivity.
- Teach children self-regulation.
- Improve their awareness when getting frustrated or losing focus on their task.
To children, brain breaks might feel like they’re extending the time it takes to complete their homework but valuable skills can come from it. Another important benefit for children is the ability to return to a task and get it done on their own. This also builds self-confidence and self-esteem, showing them that they’re able to overcome their homework challenges which further motivates them to keep trying.
When it comes to brain breaks, the goal is to shift the childrens’ focus from frustrations to something that alleviates the stress. Here are a few examples of brain break exercises that you can do with your children!
Children are usually sitting while doing their homework. Allowing them stand up and move a bit helps increase blood flow to their brain which helps with their focus and ability to stay alert. Brief movement exercises can help reduce stress and anxiety which makes tasks easier to focus on as well.
Some of these exercises can be going on a short walk, jumping jacks, running in place, snow angels on the floor, push-ups, etc. Anything that helps the blood flow will be beneficial for your child, but it’s important not to overexert their energy and keep a close eye on the clock to ensure they don’t tire themselves out!
Allowing your child to relax with quiet activities can have similar benefits to active exercises. Furthermore, quiet exercises are better options for children who may get overstimulated by movement exercises that make it harder for them to settle back down and stay focused.
A few examples can be short guided meditation exercises, doodling, and drawing. Allowing them to do these exercises for just a few minutes will let them recharge in areas they feel overworked.
When to Give Brain Breaks
Ultimately, you will have to experiment with what works best for your children when they are working on their homework. A brain break can be given when they are visually frustrated or distracted. Another option is to give brain breaks as a reward for staying on task for a specific duration of time.
Younger children benefit greatly from brain breaks given to them in intervals. For example, set a timer for 5 to 10 minutes for your child to work on homework and when the timer goes off, allow them to take a brain break for 2 to 4 minutes and repeat the process until their homework is finished.
For older children, breaks given to them after achieving a specific task tend to be more beneficial. For example, once the homework for a specific subject is finished, allow them to take a 5 to 10 minute break before continuing onto the next subject’s homework assignment.
Different techniques and strategies work with children based on their learning styles and patterns. Try some of these out to see which works best for you and your children, and remember to give them positive reinforcement when practicing these exercises!