The Ultimate Guide to Taking Study Breaks

Encouraging kids to study hard and do their best is a common trait of well-intentioned parents who want their children to succeed academically. But in that effort to motivate, a crucial component of task succession that is frequently overlooked is allowing children to take breaks during study sessions.

In this guide, UNIS Hanoi will help parents understand why, for children, taking breaks whilst studying is just as important as learning.

Why Study Breaks Are Important?

Since the human brain can only maintain concentration for up to 45 minutes at a time, breaks are crucial when engaging in human activity. Students typically spend 8 hours on learning, making it one third of their day. This is especially important for those who mainly have school as their second home, like students.

Below is a deeper dive into this matter.

The Brain’s Limited Attention Span

As mentioned above, the human brain can only focus on one task for a limited attention span of 45 minutes, which is especially important for young minds. Pushing a brain to work past its limits can make it fatigued and lose the ability to concentrate effectively.

Without giving kids chances to let their brains rest and recharge through breaks, their brains could be tired and overlapped, which is bad for children’s physical and emotional development.

Benefits of Taking Study Breaks

Contrary to popular belief, it is good for children to take some breaks after a long study session. Here are four reasons why:

Increased Productivity and Focus

Many studies (like this one from the 6th Global Wireless Summit (GWS-2018)) have shown that the brain has a limited attention span and that continuously studying without breaks can cause mental fatigue and reduced concentration in children. This can lead to decreased productivity, as children may need help retaining information and completing tasks.

However, regular breaks can help combat this fatigue and increase focus. By taking short breaks, children can give their brains time to rest and reset, allowing them to return to their studies with renewed energy and focus. As a result, children may be able to complete their work more quickly and effectively, leading to a sense of accomplishment and motivation.

Children can memorise things better with the inclusion of short breaks
Children can memorise things better with the inclusion of short breaks

Encouraging children to take regular breaks during study sessions can also help to build good study habits, promote a healthy balance between work and rest, avoid burnout, and help them maintain a positive attitude towards learning.

Reduced Stress and Fatigue

Burnout can have a negative impact on a child’s mental health and academic performance if they study nonstop without taking breaks.

Studies have shown that prolonged periods of cognitive work without rest can increase stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which can contribute to mental fatigue and exhaustion. Children may find it challenging to focus and remember information as a result, which can cause frustration and feelings of overwhelm.

By taking systematic breaks, children can give their minds a chance to recover and reduce these negative effects. This is a simple but effective way to promote their mental health and well-being while also improving their academic performance.

Improved Memory Retention

Taking breaks while studying can also lead to improved memory retention, which is crucial for academic success.

When students take breaks, their brains have the opportunity to process and consolidate the information they have just learned. This consolidation process, also known as memory encoding, helps move information from short-term memory to long-term memory, making it easier to recall later on.

In fact, a study published in the journal Neuron shows that participants who receive a short break have greater activity in the hippocampus and cortical regions of the brain, which consolidate memories during rest, allowing them to perform better in a picture-memory experiment than those who do not.

Consequently, encouraging your child to review their notes or quiz themselves during their breaks can be particularly beneficial for enhancing memory retention.

Enhanced Creativity

Allowing your child to engage in creative activities during their breaks, such as drawing, writing, or playing music, can help them recharge their minds and return to their studies with a fresh perspective.

Studies have shown that taking breaks can activate the brain’s default mode network, which is associated with daydreaming, self-reflection, and creativity. When your child is engaged in creative pursuits during their breaks, they may explore this network and come up with fresh insights or solutions to issues they had been having trouble with.

Additionally, incorporating activities that promote creativity and innovation into your child’s study routine can make learning more enjoyable and engaging, which can ultimately lead to better academic outcomes.

Encourage your child to explore different creative outlets during their breaks and see how it can positively impact not only their studying experience but many different areas of their life.

How to Help Children Take Effective Breaks?

Even though the benefits of breaks for children’s brain development have been clearly demonstrated above, there are still some crucial things that parents must keep in mind if they want to let their kids take logical breaks.

Here are the ways to effectively help children take breaks.

Understanding Every Child’s Study Habits and Learning Style

Every child has a different learning style and study habits, so it is essential to understand what works best for them.

Some children may prefer short, frequent breaks, while others may benefit from longer, less frequent breaks. Understanding this can help parents create a break schedule that works best for them.

Creating A Schedule for Breaks

A break schedule can help the child stay on track and avoid distractions. Parents can set break intervals for them, such as every hour or every 45 minutes, depending on their needs.

During these breaks, they should take a few minutes to stretch, move around, or engage in a relaxing activity.

Engaging In Activities They Enjoy During Breaks

Encouraging children to engage in healthy activities that they enjoy during breaks, like listening to music, going for a walk, or chatting with a friend, can help them to recharge and reduce stress levels, making the study process more enjoyable.

Drawing is a very helpful activity for relaxation
Drawing is a very helpful activity for relaxation

Avoiding Distracting or Stimulating Activities

Some activities, such as playing video games, scrolling through social media, or watching TV, can even be counterproductive and make it harder for your child to focus when they return to their studies.

Try participating with the child in activities that are mindful and relaxing, like meditation, deep breathing, or yoga.


In conclusion, taking study breaks is important for every child’s academic success, with benefits like increasing productivity and focus, reducing stress and fatigue, improving memory retention, and enhancing creativity.

If you are looking for a studying environment that values kids taking breaks as much as their academic success, UNIS Hanoi is where you should consider most.

Our mission and guiding principles help shape UNIS Hanoi as a place that is as academically challenging as it is inspirational, friendly, and globally engaged, allowing students to learn, grow, and work with one another to make the world a better place.

To learn more about the faculty and IB programmes offered at UNIS Hanoi, schedule a campus tour. You can also subscribe to our Facebook page and blog to receive additional parenting advice.

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