Some individuals may want to “power through” specific tasks to help them accomplish the job faster or “just get it done.” However, breaks are emotionally, physically, and mentally beneficial. “Rest is indeed not idleness, nor is it a wasted opportunity for productivity,” Immordino-Yang and her colleagues write. Scheduled breaks throughout lessons and structured activities can increase a child’s productivity and provide further opportunities to develop their social skills and creativity. There are several benefits of scheduling the breaks throughout a child’s day, including reducing stress, increasing productivity, boosting brain function, and developing social skills. Several 10-minute lessons are more effective throughout the day rather than fewer 10-minutes lessons. The benefits of breaks can also increase the child’s psychological well-being (Terada, 2018).
Due to the benefits of taking breaks, these breaks should be included in structured activities, including camps or classrooms. One suggestion is to use brain breaks or short activities to stimulate curiosity, boost motivation and improve their overall mood. In addition, a child would benefit from a physical break as well as a mental break. An exercise or movement break can reset the child’s attention through physical movement. Longer breaks (e.g., recess or playtime) encourage children to learn essential social and life skills from one another. During these breaks, the children learn skills such as how to play together, take turns, problem solve, compromise, and manage their own emotions and behaviors. Finally, breaks should also foster and encourage creativity. Art projects or games, such as makerspaces, or Genius Hour, can boost a child’s imagination while allowing them to have a break from their structured lessons. Overall, breaks can be very beneficial to encourage learning while increasing motivation and attention throughout the day. These types of breaks promote the freedom to learn from one another while gaining exposure to new experiences, thus increasing their cognitive flexibility and preparing them for academic challenges (Terada, 2018).
Jessica LaMont, M.S., LBS
Terada, Y. (2018, March 9). Research-tested benefits of breaks. Edutopia. https://www.edutopia.org/article/research-tested-benefits-breaks.