How to Use Brain Breaks for Self Care

by | Feb 8, 2022 | Activities, Family, Tips

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Self-care is so important in life. Teaching children the importance of self-care should be a priority as parents. Brain Breaks work for children! Do you know how to provide self-care for your child using Brain Breaks? When children are given Brain Breaks they learn to regulate their bodies and mind. Knowing how and when to take a Brain Break is a lifelong skill that benefits everyone in the family. Brain Breaks help children focus, self-regulate and transition smoothly. It provides self-care forever.

What is a Brain Break?

A brain break is a short period of time when we change up the dull routine of incoming information in our brain. Our brains are wired for novelty. We know this because we pay attention to every stimulus in our environment that is out of the ordinary.

Relaxing brain breaks help calm students and allow the mind to settle enough to shift focus to provide self-care. For students who get overstimulated or who have a hard time self-regulating, relaxing brain breaks are beneficial. After these quieter breaks, students are able to return to work because they’ve given the over stimulated areas of the brain time to recharge.

How does it work?

kids blow bubbles use brain breaks for self care

Engaging in physical activity using your brain, increases the blood flow and oxygenation in the brain. As a result, this boosts neural connectivity and stimulates nerve cell growth in the hippocampus, the center of the learning and memory. These physical changes are beneficial to your child’s intellectual growth. So it is a win-win for the child and family. Last, but not least, Brain Breaks promote the release of serotonin which helps reduce stress and create calm kids.

When we take a brain break to calm our bodies and brain, it refreshes our thinking and helps us discover another solution to a problem. During these few minutes, the brain moves away from thinking about learning, memorizing, and problem solving. The brain break actually helps the brain to process new information.

What Does Research Say?

A focused-attention practice is a brain exercise for quieting the thousands of thoughts that distract and frustrate us each day. When your child’s mind is quiet and focused, they will be able to be attend with a sense of calm.

Research repeatedly shows that quieting our minds ignites our ability to relax, which reduces heart rate. This helps our child cope effectively to handle the day-to-day challenges. It improves our thinking. Our child’s emotions begin to regulate so that they have tools to calm their body and mind when approaching different experiences.

Types of Calming Brain Breaks

These brain breaks help kids calm down and provide self-care for life. They’re especially helpful if your child is starting to feel stressed during the day or a certain activity. You will need to practice these with your child to show them how to do each one. Then once you have practiced each of them, you and your child can determine which ones you will choose to use. You might choose one a day or five a week. It is important for your child to have a place in your home to do these. They might use their bedroom or maybe a quiet place in your house. It may even be a chair placed in a quiet place. 

Brain Breaks

  • Yoga poses can be a huge stress reliever for all ages. Have your child sit cross legged on the floor with their hands on their knees counting their breath. 
  • Listen to calming music.  A relaxing song to help your child unwind. Have them sit somewhere where they are comfortable, can relax and enjoy the music.
  • Let your child color a picture (or a piece of a picture). This is a relaxing way to get creative juices flowing. Make sure to have many different colors for your child to use.
  • Deep breathing will help your child decompress. This will instantly help them relax and relieve stress so they can feel ready to take on their next task.
  • Breathe in through your nose while placing your hand on your stomach to feel it expand. Hold it here, then slowly breathe out through the mouth while feeling your stomach contract. Repeat.
  • Blow bubbles. Try to blow the biggest bubble you can, or blow smaller bubbles and try catching them on your fingers without popping them.
  • Blow into a pinwheel. You can use a pinwheel or pretend to have one. Have your child try to blow for 10 seconds first and then longer if possible.
  • Slowly blow out candles on your fingertips. The slower the better. Spend 3 to 5 seconds blowing out each candle. 
  • Breathe in through the nose, out through the mouth. Do this for one minute in a quiet space.
  • Listen Carefully and set a timer for 1 minute. During the minute, have your child sit with their eyes closed and stay completely quiet and listen for different sounds. 


Self-care is important for lifelong wellness. Brain breaks provide children the tools to practice self-care. Practicing brain breaks with your child will give them the understanding and confidence to utilize brain breaks when necessary. 


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by Dr. Kim Grengs, Ed.D., Parent Coach

How to use brain breaks for self care

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