Must-have skill for children #19: Taking Breaks

“Hard work” brings to mind students at desks studying from morning to night, eating while completing their homework, and hopping from one schedule to the next. However, there is a key component of hard work that is often overlooked: good rest. You can’t have hard work without it, leading to the wise adage “work hard, play hard.” Only committing to the first half of that equation leads to burn out, which then leads to suffering productivity levels. However, only committing to the second half leads to an aimless lifestyle with no results.

The focus is usually on how to study and use grit to do well in school; this time, let’s shift the focus to taking efficient breaks, which help students take care of themselves and work better when it’s time to dive back in. Here’s how your child can master the must-have skill of taking breaks!

Schedule the Breaks

Your child may create a schedule to maximize their time, so they do everything they need to do that day, such as homework and exercise, but does this schedule include breaks? Make sure these breaks actually happen by scheduling them purposefully throughout the day. For example, the time management method, the Pomodoro Technique, says to focus on a task for 25 minutes, and then have a break that lasts 5 minutes. After four of these “pomodoros,” your child can reward themselves with a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes. They don’t have to follow this technique exactly, but the idea is the same—have frequent short breaks with longer breaks at longer intervals.

Let Go of Any Guilt

In a world that’s always on go mode, it can be hard to stop and take a breather without feeling bad about all the things that could be done during that time. However, it’s ineffective to “take a break” by checking emails, organizing assignments, or cleaning the desk. It’s important your child completely signs off work mode when it’s time. This is the best way to refresh the mind so that it can work efficiently again when break’s up. Remind them to not think about what they still have left to do that day but to give themselves permission to completely live in the moment free of any responsibilities and guilt.

Be Truly Present

Your child should take meaningful breaks in order to get the most out of them, meaning they shouldn’t be endlessly scrolling on any online platform. Rather than distracting themselves with mindless activities that give no joy, they should be engaging mindfully in whatever makes them happy and relaxed, even if that’s doing absolutely nothing at all, like taking a nap or staring out a window. The more they are truly present in the moment the more they can enjoy the break fully and recuperate from the hard work they’ve been putting in thus far.

Move Your Body

Break time is the perfect time to get up and move your body around. The average person spends six to eight of their waking hours sitting down. When your child is finally able to push themselves away from the desk, they should also make sure to get out of their seat. They should be even more active if possible, either taking walks or doing light exercises and stretches to get their circulation flowing. This would also be an excellent time to rest or relieve the eyes from staring at a digital screen or small blocks of texts for long periods of time.

Switch Up Your Surroundings

It would be helpful not only to take a walk or do some stretches but also to change up the environment—particularly by going outside for some fresh air, if possible. Nature is known to have healing properties and a very relaxing effect on people; it’s certain to relieve any stress or negative emotions your child may be experiencing. If going outside is difficult, even entering another room would help. This will wake up your child’s mind, very much like pressing the refresh button on a browser page, as being in the same environment for long periods of time can dull the senses.

Taking breaks is an important life skill that every child should have. If you want them to relieve any stress and build strong study habits that will benefit them in the long run, make sure you include the must-have skill of taking breaks in your child’s daily routine!

Need help with your child’s study habits and feelings toward learning in general? Then enroll your child at a JEI Learning Center near you today! You can also contact us at 877-JEI-MATH to speak with an expert on children’s supplementary education.