Science Says You Should Take A Break

Because time is money, your boss may demand that you and your colleagues do not take too many breaks while at work. Similarly, parents believe that time equals their children’s grades. Guided by this notion, parents insist that their children bury their heads in their school books for hours on end. This could backfire. 

In a study, 84 participants were asked to perform a task for fifty minutes. As the task progressed, most participants’ performance decreased significantly. However, those who were allowed to take two brief breaks from their task were able to stay focused during the entire experiment. This study affirms the importance of taking breaks for sustained attention and learning. 

There’s a whole range of things you and your children can do to work and study more productively, including:

  • Short workouts to wake the body and mind.
  • Listen to music or look at art or nature
  • Set up a conducive work or study environment 
  • Solve puzzles and riddles
  • Take a 10 to 20 minute nap

I hope you’ll share your experience with us as you put some of these study tips into practice for your child. 

By Parcsen Loke, Family Life Coach, Centre for Fathering. 

Food for Thought: What is your reaction when you see your child doing something else when he or she should be studying?

Atsunori Ariga, Alejandro Lleras. Brief and rare mental ‘breaks’ keep you focused: Deactivation and reactivation of task goals preempt vigilance decrements. Cognition, 2011; DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2010.12.007