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Filling Breaks Meaningfully During Distance Learning

In many schools, children attending school virtually are given ten to fifteen minute breaks at various points in the day. This is a good thing! We need to allow for brain breaks away from the screen. Our kids are spending so much time in front of screens already. Even as adults, we need to walk away to regroup, give our eyes a break, and stretch. Children are no different.

So how should the kids be spending this time?

You need to find a way to fill breaks meaningfully. This is going to look different in different homes. Designated non-screen time is very important.

  • If the weather is nice, encourage your kids to play outside. See if you can arrange recess time with other kids in the neighborhood. Reach out to parents who have kids of similar ages and agree that the kids will go outside and play together for fifteen to thirty minutes, just as they would during a typical school day. Older kids can take a quick bike ride, play basketball or kickball, or just talk and blow off steam. Younger kids might enjoy playing on swings, jumping rope, blowing bubbles, or using some sidewalk chalk by the front steps. The fresh air will do them good!

  • If the weather is less than optimal, let your kids color, play with kinetic sand, or call a grandparent on the phone for a brief chat before the timer goes off. They can help you prepare lunch, play with a sibling, or cuddle with a pet. There are loads of things your children will enjoy that don’t involve more screen time.

No matter what you choose to encourage, the bottom line is that you need to consistently enforce this rule: No screen time during break time!

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