For some kids, a brain break needs to happen when they’re getting frustrated or distracted. For others, it may be a reward for staying on task for a certain amount of time. Or it may be a step on the way to accomplishing a larger goal. (For example, taking a break after 10 minutes of silent reading may help kids finish 30 minutes of reading.)
There are two ways to schedule breaks: by intervals of time or by ratio of behaviors (number of tasks completed).
Interval breaks: Younger kids often benefit from taking breaks at timed intervals. For instance, work for five minutes and then take a two-minute break.
You can use a timer to help kids understand how much time is passing. A timer also helps kids learn what they can do in a set amount of time.
Give specific instructions about how long the break will last, and explain the activity. Then start the timer. The timer provides a built-in warning that the break is winding down. You can also use verbal reminders like, “Wasn’t that fun? Now it’s time to get back to your homework!”
Ratio breaks: Older kids tend to benefit from taking breaks that are tied to a certain number of behaviors. For instance, once kids complete their math homework they might take a five- or 10-minute brain break before moving on to English homework. Or after completing five out of 10 math problems, they take a break.
Try using a
to plan for when to take brain breaks.