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School season is now in full swing which means your children are occupied with homework, sports, and clubs! In all the business of the school year, it’s easy to let quality time slip away when everyone in the family is focusing on different things. Sometimes, it might even feel like you’ve barely seen your own children when their everyday routine is wake up early, go to school, go to practices, find time for homework, eat dinner, and sleep. This year teach your kids (and even yourself) that it is healthy to take a break and slow down!

Balancing life and school/work is an essential skill to introduce to your kids that will reap long-term benefits. As parents, we all want our children to be successful but not at the cost of their health and well-being. It’s important that parents encourage both relaxation and hard work by creating space for rest. This can look like allowing your children to have a snack and free time before beginning homework instead of jumping into assignments after a long day of school. It can also be giving 10-15 mins brain breaks for every 30 mins of homework. Creating these pockets of rest not only allows your children to focus better, but it also provides an opportunity to bond with your children.

Here are a few ideas on how both you and your kids can enjoy quality time during your brain breaks!

1. Play a physical game to get your bodies moving:

Sitting at a desk and staring at books or computers can really strain the body over time, especially if your child is not active. A great activity for a brain break is some light physical activity to stretch and get away from the screens. This can look like playing music and dancing together, going outside for a game of catch, or even some easy yoga for kids. Whatever you choose, make sure that your child is also excited since a break is not a break if it’s forced.

2. Unleash some creativity with arts and crafts:

A favorite activity for all ages is arts and crafts! With younger ones, you can take turns picking colors and drawing or painting the first thing that comes to mind when you see that color. For older children, explore some new hobbies such as finger-knitting or origami. Whether your creations turn out good or bad, your family will have lots of fun exploring each other’s creativity!

3. Go enjoy the nature right under your nose:

While exploring the outdoors may seem too time consuming for a brain break, there’s often lots to explore in our own yards with a curious mind! Take some time to find different insects, animals, and plants in your yard and try to figure out their names with your kids. This can be a fun way to learn about your environment and foster an appreciation for nature in your kids. Another idea, teach your kids how to garden or care for living plants. Maybe during their break, they get to fill up the watering can and water all the plants or help you plant a few seeds before going back to the books!

4. Find relaxation through mindfulness:

For those who just need to unwind, find calmness, or to let go of their thoughts, mindfulness exercises are great to incorporate into your brain breaks. You can try out different breathing exercises or even mindfully eating a snack (describing every bite). Mindfulness is all about living in and paying attention to the present. It can be simply noticing sensations, tastes, sounds, and sights. For those unfamiliar with mindfulness, there are plenty of resources for guided meditations that you and your children can learn together! Here’s a great article to get you started!

These are just a few ideas on how to use study breaks to encourage quality time with your kids! Remember, each child is different so one activity may work for one child, while your other children may prefer different ones. All that matters is that your children are happy and learning the importance of creating time for themselves!