Homework Breaks - Gross motor activities
School is back and that means so is homework. For some kids sitting in a class room all day is hard, and then to come home and sit some more to do homework seems next to impossible. Incorporating small gross motor breaks can help increase your child’s attention and make homework time go much smoother. A study done in 2011 showed that kids concentrate better after some form of physical activity. “Specifically, our preliminary work suggests that sustained involvement in structured physical activity may offer benefits to motor, cognitive, social, and behavioral functioning in young people exhibiting ADHD symptoms” (Smith et al., 2011). When sitting down to do homework, give your child a specific number of problems to complete, and then after they hit the target number have them get up and step away. Have them complete a quick heavy work activity before continuing the homework. Here are a few ideas.
- Different animal walks (crab, bear, frog, etc.)
- Carrying heavy objects through a maze
- Play statue (adult stands as straight as possible and child tries to push adult)
- Play tug of war
- Wheelbarrow walking
- Place pillows on the floor and have them jump from pillow to pillow
- Wrestle/rough house
- Jump on a trampoline
These are just a few of the thousands of different heavy work activities for children that will help increase focus and attention. The key is to set a number of problems, items, questions etc. to complete and then set a timer for the heavy work activity.
Here are some links for different heavy work activities
Here is a link to the article
Matthew D’Antonio, PT, DPT
Pediatric Physical Therapist