Why Breaks Are Essential For Children In School

Written by Dan

Last updated

We all know how important it is for children to have a break from schoolwork. But did you know that research has shown that breaks are just as necessary for kids’ academic performance as they are for their physical and mental health?

In this blog post, we’ll explore why breaks are so significant for children in school and offer tips on how to make the most of them.

Related: For more, check out our article on How To Aid Challenging Behaviour  here.

Benefit of BreaksDescriptionEvidence/Supporting Points
Physical RefreshmentBreaks allow children to engage in physical activity, promoting health and reducing obesity.– Increases in physical activity are linked to better health.
– Helps prevent childhood obesity.
Mental RejuvenationShort breaks can refresh attention spans and improve focus.– Studies show breaks can improve cognitive performance.
– Helps maintain consistent performance throughout the day.
Emotional RegulationTime away from structured learning helps children process emotions and stress.– Breaks can reduce stress and improve mood.
– Supports social development through peer interaction.
Social InteractionBreaks provide opportunities for social development and peer bonding.– Social skills are enhanced during unstructured play.
– Peer interactions during breaks can build teamwork skills.
Creativity and Problem-SolvingFree play can stimulate creativity and critical thinking.– Unstructured time allows for imaginative and creative play.
– Encourages independent problem-solving skills.
Reinforcement of LearningBreaks can help consolidate learning and memory retention.– Neurological research supports the role of rest in learning.
– Periods of rest can lead to better memory recall.

This table provides a succinct overview of why breaks are a crucial component of a child’s school day, backed by various benefits and research findings that can be elaborated on in your article.

Time to move their bodies

Movement is an integral part of a child’s overall health and development. Having time in their day to be active, run around, get their energy out, and explore can help improve coordination and strength, reduce stress and build self-confidence.

Encouraging physical activity throughout a child’s day is a great way to support their overall wellness. Not only will they stay healthier by moving their bodies, but they will also learn that movement can be enjoyable and provide lasting mood benefits even if the activity is short-lived.

Regular breaks during the day, which involve some physical activity, can make children more productive, creative, alert and better prepared for learning tasks. Just like with PE, moving your body can also improve your well-being.

Related: For more, check out our article on Behaviour Management Strategies here.

why do children need breaks

Time to socialize with their classmates

Breaks are an essential part of any student’s day, and for children, they offer a chance to switch out of the learning mindset and use other aspects of their minds.

Not only do children need brain breaks to remain focused, but they also give them a chance to interact with classmates. This can help them learn how to collaborate, practice social skills, and even form friendships that may last long past their school years.

Break time is especially beneficial for students who struggle with shyness or lack social understanding, as it allows them to work on their relationship-building skills in a safe environment.

Time to themselves during the day

Children need time to explore at their own pace, develop and reflect on their interests and passions, learn how to solve problems independently and understand themselves better.

All these capabilities require that children have a certain degree of autonomy- which cannot be achieved without having some alone time in the day. Of course, it’s essential for children to also spend quality time with peers and family; however, balance matters.

Providing a space for the child during the day allows them to think about, express and understand their world without distractions. This helps prepare kids for future success and boosts self-confidence during this crucial developmental stage.

A break from schoolwork

Many children struggle to focus on schoolwork, especially after weeks and months of the same routine. Taking a break from this routine can help kids refocus and be more productive.

Playtime or time spent with family not focused on school can provide much-needed relief and fun while re-energizing them to continue their studies. A break helps children clear their minds, recharge, and gain perspective.

Mentally, breaks increase creativity and concentration by replenishing the essential brain power needed for successful studying. Regular study breaks also teach children basic skills such as managing their time wisely and understanding that hard work is necessary for success in every endeavour.

Snacks and drinks

Snacks and drinks are essential to a well-rounded diet to maintain energy levels throughout the day. Not only do snacks and beverages give us the macronutrients we need, such as carbohydrates and proteins, but they also keep our brains functioning at peak capacity.

For example, while a cup of coffee can give us a quick burst of caffeine that we need to focus on or stay alert on long shifts, drinking water throughout the day keeps us hydrated, which is beneficial for physical and cognitive performance.

Furthermore, healthy snacks like nuts, fruits, or yoghurt provide essential vitamins and minerals for our bodies to produce energy. All in all, snacks and drinks are an easy and organized way to maintain or boost our energy levels throughout the day.


Ensuring your child gets enough sleep at night is vital for their emotional and mental well-being. Not only will they have more energy during the day, but they will also be better equipped to focus on tasks and learn new things.

Children need at least 8-10 hours of sleep each night, depending on their age, so it’s crucial to create a bedtime routine that allows your child to get adequate rest; this may include having them turn off all screens one hour before bed and abstaining from naps late in the day.

With a consistent routine and proper guidance, you can ensure that your child is getting the rest needed for healthy functioning during the day so they can excel academically and emotionally.

Children must have breaks during the day to stay focused and productive. Ensure your child sleeps well and eats nutritious snacks and drinks throughout the day.

Create a routine that includes some time for physical activity, socializing with classmates, and some quiet time for your child to themselves.


Should children have longer break times?

It depends on the child and their needs. Some children may benefit from longer break times, while others may need shorter ones to stay focused. Ultimately, it is up to you as a parent or guardian to determine what works best for your child and adjust the break times accordingly.

What are some healthy snacks for children?

Some good snacks for children include fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, yoghurt, cheese sticks, and hard-boiled eggs. You can also make exciting combinations like smoothies or homemade trail mixes with different dried fruits and nuts.

Why are movement breaks necessary?

Movement breaks are essential because they help children stay energized and refocused during the day. Regular movement breaks throughout the day will also help improve their physical health and boost their concentration and productivity.

What are some activities for study breaks?

Some activities for a study break can include going for a short walk, doing some stretching or yoga exercises, playing a game with friends or family, listening to music, reading a book, writing in a journal, taking a quick nap, or even just dedicating 10 minutes of silent reflection.

These activities can help clear their mind and refresh them so that they can better focus when it’s time to return to their studies.

Should children have an afternoon break in school?

Yes, children should have an afternoon break in school. An afternoon break gives students a chance to socialize with their peers, relax and de-stress from the mental demands of the day, and get some physical activity. Regular intervals also help improve concentration when returning to tasks after the break.

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.






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