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Make sure there are enough breaks

    If it’s not about topics that excite your child, you will notice that your child’s ability to concentrate decreases after a while. Mistakes creep in, the mood gets worse, your child fidgets more or the posture changes. … (read more)

    These are all “warning lights.” Nothing bad, but an important signal – similar to your fuel gauge on your car. Observe your child. Perhaps you will notice other “warning lights”? A more restless writing pattern, stroppy answers, more frequent questions, the gaze that wanders out of the window more and more often?

    Now, at the latest, is the right time to take a break. It’s even better if your child takes a break just before he or she feels exhausted. That way, the “Wow, I can’t do it anymore” feeling isn’t linked to learning in the first place. Set aside a few observation days with your child. Keep track of the time and write down when your child notices that his or her concentration is slipping. This will give you a good feel for the right time to take a break (- as I said, ideally before the low starts!).

    For elementary school students, we generally assume good learning sessions of 15-20 minutes. After that, it is good to “air out” the head briefly. So: Better than further input (e.g. in the form of computer games or similar) is movement, laughter or fresh air. Go for a short romp through the bedroom, do some sports exercises together or go for a short run around the block. Let your child drink a glass of water and nibble on some nuts in peace. Or let your child dance to their favorite song, build a little sandcastle in their little sister’s sandbox, or do a few tricks on their skateboard. Make sure your child can easily stop the break activity. Starting a radio play or a larger Lego model could backfire, as your child may be eager to continue. If that’s still his break filler of choice, perhaps a clear agreement will help: only 2 chapters will be listened to. Or: If the alarm clock beeps after 10 minutes of Lego building, that’s it.

    Of course, it’s great when your child realizes on his own when he feels refreshed enough to continue working. And then does so. Until that time comes, it helps to have an agreement (e.g. 10 minutes) and an alarm clock that reminds you to continue.

    These small breaks not only have the advantage that your child has more energy for unpleasant tasks, can concentrate better and makes fewer mistakes. The newly acquired knowledge can settle down for a short time and good moods can even loosen inner blockades. So let’s go – on to the break!

    Tip: If your child is highly concentrated on a learning topic, it’s better not to interrupt him or her. Even if 20 minutes have already passed. If the motivation is so high that the child loses himself in the task, that’s great! He or she is “in the flow” and is learning particularly well and intensively.