The Right Types of Brain Breaks
by Peter Lindholm
While it’s true that studying should be focused and efficient, this does NOT mean it should be non-stop. It’s important to take breaks during study blocks, or else any child (or adult) is bound to get tired and frustrated.
Firstly, what should a study break looks like? It should be only 5-10 minutes long (excluding a family dinner) and not involve too much distraction. The break should be both efficient and effective, just like the homework itself.
So what kind of breaks fit this mold? Ones that both facilitate your studying and promote wellness. Here are three types of breaks it is crucial to take (look, I’m a poet!)
This might sound obvious, but many students and families ignore dinner in favor of homework or study time. It is crucial to have both! A brain cannot function properly without food, so studying time done on an empty stomach might as well be spent in front of the TV. For more info on the right kinds of food to be eating for dinner, check out our article on study friendly foods
Students should also take breaks that facilitate social time. Dinner could feed into this, as it’s been proven by many studies that family dinners have positive impacts on developing brains. But this could also involve getting the phone out of the bedroom (where it should be during work times) and texting or keeping up with friends. Homework doesn’t happen in a vacuum: kids have lives and social needs that are important to maintain during study breaks.
Like a car in bad weather, the brain gets rusty if left sitting for too long. To get the brain engaged and promote healthy habits, students should take movement breaks during long blocks of work. For older students, this could involve more structured exercise or sports practice, but younger students could simply run around for ten minutes, or play an active game. Anything to shake off that rust!
Homework doesn’t have to be the torture chamber that it is portrayed as in TV and movies. With short (5-10 minute) breaks built into work times, the work will be done more effectively and the student will not feel that their life has to stop when they have a lot of homework. It’s a win win.