Gross Motor Breaks During Homework

Gross Motor Breaks During Homework

Homework is something the majority of kids struggle with. After sitting in class all day the last thing anyone wants to do is to come home and sit down and do more work. Incorporating small gross motor breaks can help your child stay focused longer. 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 gross motor activity before continuing the homework.


An article on stated that the best exercises were ones that stimulate the vestibular system.  This means that the exercises you do need to get the body and the head moving. For example, singing and moving along to the “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” song is a great gross motor break. It gets your child up and away from the desk/table, and allows them to move and stimulate the vestibular system. Another idea would be to place items on the ground and have your child pick them up one at a time. Have them bend at the waist instead of the knees. This makes the head go up and down giving the vestibular system some stimulation. Swings and trampolines are great tools to stimulate the vestibular system. Have your child jump and spin, and make sure you spin both to the right and the left. These are just a couple of ideas to help give your child a homework break and help increase their attention and focus while doing homework. Below is the link to the 2011 research article and to the OT-moms web page.


To view the article, please copy and paste into your web browser:

-Matthew D’Antonio, PT, DPT

Pediatric Physical Therapist



 Smith, A. L., Hoza, B., Linnea, K., McQuade, J. D., Tomb, M., Vaughn, A. J., … Hook, H. (2011). Pilot physical activity intervention reduces severity of ADHD symptoms in young children. Journal of Attention Disorders, 17(1), 70–82. doi:10.1177/1087054711417395





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