Movement breaks for remote learning



Kids too restless to focus. Offer these activities to reboot

Get moving to relieve remote learning stress


Primary school teachers, like occupational therapists for kids with special needs, have a toolbox of activities to give students breaks from sit-down learning. Now that the pandemic has so many kids at home for online learning, parents can use the same exercises to give their kids a break that will enable them to get back to work refreshed.

If your child has attention issues or special needs, their occupational therapist will probably provide specific exercises to help them get through a day of remote learning without being overwhelmed or melting down. Kids of all kinds benefit from similar measures if they're staring at computer screens much of the day. Research has shown that such exercises improve concentration and may also help with math processing, language skills, and memory. The OT Toolbox (website suggests three different categories of “brain breaks” to help kids shift gears).

Physical breaks get the entire body in motion. Fast cardiovascular activity increases breathing rate and the oxygen level in the bloodstream. Heightened oxygen levels contribute to improving concentration and enable a child to focus on learning. If a run around the yard isn't available, try simple calisthenics—jumping jacks, running in place, dancing, marching in place to music or a hand-clapping rhythm.



Breathing breaks include deep breathing and visualization, which bring relaxation and a renewed ability to ground and focus. Combine deep breathing with stretching, raising the arms, shaking out the hands, and/or rolling the head in a circle. For visualization, the OT Toolboxwebsite includes short mindfulness videos that kids can listen to (with eyes closed, if they need a screen break to help them get calm and relaxed.

Mental breaks shift the attention from a concentrated task to an activity that's fun and relaxing, such as playing a game, answering trivia questions, telling jokes.

Keep in mind that adults need brain breaks too. If you're working at home, try some of these exercises yourself. You might want to arrange your schedule so you and your child can take breaks together. 



More Homeschooling


  • Get wifi all over the house

    How to extend your signal for remote learning or homeschooling

    Dropped calls or garbled voices make online video calls frustrating for at-home workers and students alike. Four tips on how to improve your signal to accommodate the whole family. read more »
  • How to help kids slow down and tune in

    Mindfulness helps with mental focus

    Even adults who recognize the value of mindfulness have trouble slowing down. It's often harder for kids, but parents can teach them this valuable skill. read more »
  • Be careful of subscriptions that automatically renew

    Children’s online learning program ABCmouse to pay $10 million in damages

    Tens of thousands of customers had their subscriptions renewed without notification and with no easy way to cancel, according to the Federal Trade Commission. With so many of us relying on online information it is easy to be caught in a subscription scam. read more »
  • How to support child-driven learning at home

    Authentic learning engages a child's curiosity

    Whether your child is homeschooling, at home for online learning, or in need of a weekend activity, take steps to nurture individual interests and promote organic learning experiences. read more »
  • 10 resource links for parents of children with special needs

    Local educator provides insight in how to survive this educational environment

    Information for this article was presented by Barbara Darrigo, M.S. to a group that participates in a Facebook online forum. Barbara offered 10 resource links that provide support information for parents of children with special needs. read more »
  • Routines maintain sanity when working and schooling at home

    Organize your family's day with these tips

    You can set up routines to help the whole family feel calmer and function better. A mother of eight explains how. read more »
  • 7 suggestions on dealing with schooling

    Everything’s up in the air in terms of education but we can still deal with it

    Military parents have been asked to rely on their skills with fluidity to handle coming changes. This was presented at a back-to-school webinar sponsored by Military Child Education Coalition. read more »
  • 27 local school districts now offer the easy-to-use reading app Sora

    Using Sora local students have access to both school district libraires and local public libraries

    Rampo Catskill Library System (RCLS) libraries team up with local school districts to expand children’s access to great books and fun reading using the Sora app. Currently 27 school districts in Orange, Sullivan, Ulster and Rockland Counties use the Sora student reading app. read more »
  • Gadgets to help with homeschooling

    Blogger mom lists indispensable items

    A laminator? If you think about it, this tool might come in pretty handy. Parents just starting to homeschool will take inspiration from a smart blogger mom's suggestions. read more »
  • Tips to ease kids into online learning this fall

    You, as a parent, play a crucial role in the success of your child’s experience

    Whether your child already has experience with online learning or is expected to begin this fall, parents can help by setting a few simple rules. read more »