Posted October 12, 2020 – AWE Learning Staff
Are your young learners sitting in front of a computer screen multiple hours a day as part of remote learning? It is important for children to take brain breaks, mental breaks designed to help students stay focused and attentive. These short breaks provide processing time for students to solidify their learning. Brain breaks are encouraged after a specific time is spent focusing on a task; they are encouraged more often for younger students, about every five (5) to ten (10) minutes, and about every 20-30 minutes for older students. Older aged children have a longer attention span than younger aged children.
In order for new information to become memory, it must pass through the brain’s amygdala and then reach the prefrontal cortex. When students’ brains become confused and overwhelmed with information, new learning will no longer pass through and reach the prefrontal cortex to become part of their memory. Brain breaks can be taken to restore the emotional state needed to return the amygdala from overdrive into the prime state for successful information flow.
Brain breaks are teacher-driven in the classroom. However, if your child is home watching pre-recorded videos from their teacher, it is important to keep in mind that these brain breaks are also needed at home to help maintain their focus, retain more knowledge and stay on task. These breaks should be short and give the individual the chance to refocus.
Brain breaks can be done in a variety of ways. Below are examples, some including movement and skill-building!
- Physical brain breaks are used to get students up and moving. They help to burn off some of their giggles and energy.
- Jumping jacks
- Jog in place
- Simon says
- Relaxing brain breaks are used to help students calm down and reset their energy.
- Relaxing music
- Sensory brain breaks help to stimulate one’s senses and feel revitalized.
- Step outside
- Scavenger hunt
- Skill building brain breaks give students the chance to develop new skills, but take their mind off the task they were engaged in.
- Jigsaw puzzles
- Brain teasers
- Brain break games give students a change of pace between their assignments.
Brain breaks only need to be a few short minutes. Taking this brief time to do another activity gives students the chance to refocus to retain the most knowledge. When you see your young learners moving around in their chair at the computer, lead them into one of the suggested brain breaks to get them back on task.