Many schools, districts and cities across the country are using a variety of school models this fall in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Parents or guardians of children who are still doing part or all of their school days remotely are dealing with some unique stresses, including trying to find ways to help their children stay focused and motivated during the school day at home.
One of the most important pieces of advice for parents from teachers who specialize in different grades and subjects across the country is making sure their students get “brain breaks.” Brain breaks are mental breaks of just a few minutes that kids should take in between learning tasks.
During in-person instruction, kids will get this time in passing periods, at recess, at lunchtime and between lessons. These breaks can be energizing, like socializing with friends, dancing or playing a game. They can also be relaxing, like stretching, listening to music or meditating.
According to the Watson Institute, how often students need brain breaks depends on their age. Typically, kids are able to focus for a length of time equal to their age plus 2 minutes. So an 18-year-old can stay focused for about 20 minutes.
Brain breaks help kids to be calmer, remain focused and be more engaged, according to UNICEF’s Kid Power program. Making sure your child takes brain breaks throughout the day is just one of the top tips that teachers have for parents during at-home learning.