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  • Writer's pictureSenara Occupational Therapy

Movement breaks and why we ALL need them.

Three easy ways to give our minds and bodies a break.

With homeschooling and working from home becoming the norm during this latest lockdown, it is more important than ever to make sure we schedule in movement breaks, both for our children and for ourselves.

Occupational Therapists use movement breaks as a sensory tool. They are valuable because they can help us to change or alter our state of alertness.

A. Jean Ayres explains beautifully how movement affects how alert we are in her book, Sensory Integration and the Child.

She writes, "Think about how you would feel if you were rocking in a rocking chair, swaying in a hammock, or relaxing on a raft in a swimming pool.

Now, think about how you would feel if you were riding on a roller coaster, downhill skiing, or participating in an exercise class."

Different types of movement can change our state of alertness, helping us to perform better.

Although these ideas are made for children, we can all benefit from adapting them to our daily lives.


Movement breaks can be used with children and young people who need to be more active and find sitting still for long periods harder.

We can also use them to break up tasks, giving us a new sense of purpose and energy.

Here are four easy movement break ideas to re-invigorate your child.


We can use movement breaks to briefly "free-up" our brains and re-set them, ready for new, more focused learning.

These four ideas can help us to re-focus and organise our brains.


It is easy to feel overwhelmed, anxious or cross about tasks. While sometimes we need to increase our alertness levels, at times, we might need to calm ourselves down.

Rhythmic, repetitive motions, stretching, and steady breathing can help with this.

These four ideas can help us to calm our energy levels down.

Of course, no one approach will suit everyone and this is by no means a finite list. If the weather is nice, you can get outside and walk or run, have a drink, go to the toilet, cycle, or climb.

You can set expectations and challenges within tasks, using counting or specific areas to move within.

Every child is different and may have different needs. If you are unsure as to what might work best for your child, then please contact the team at

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