The Pomodore Technique is a time management system that encourages people to work with the time they have—rather than against it. Using this method, you break your workday into 25-minute chunks separated by five-minute breaks. This helps to maintain energy and focus. These intervals are referred to as pomodoros.
Every hour and a half, a longer 30-minute break helps the brain and body reset for more work. This intuitively makes sense to many parents managing a home-school schedule for the first time, but the challenge quickly becomes finding and introducing short activities that kids will love and do independently — away from their screens, in most cases.
A great starter to get kids involved is to get your child dancing, stretching, and jumping by checking out
the Go Noodle or YouTube exercise videos for kids.
Here are some more ideas for getting bodies in motion and minds recharged.
5-Minute Transition Smoothers
These are quick ideas most school-age children can do without interrupting mum and dad.
#1. Access a library of free, 5-minute exercise videos from The Body Coach TV, a P.E. teacher offering fun physical activities for kids, via YouTube.
#2. Jump rope inside or out. Jumping rope improves cardiovascular fitness, is great for coordination, and strengthens the arms, calves, and back muscles, too.
#3. Have a ball with a tennis ball or other lightweight ball. Toss and catch a ball overhead several times. Continue tossing the ball and add leg lifts to the routine. Stand upright and hold the ball over your head with both hands on the ball. Lift your leg to waist level and lower the ball to touch your toes one leg at a time. Repeat these movements for 5 minutes.
#4. Staircase fun run. Run up and down the stairs until you’re exhausted. See if you can go up and down 20 times in 5 minutes. Young children should only do with parent permission and supervision.
#5. Play indoor sock ball or balloon volleyball. Transform the largest pair of socks in your drawer into a soccer “ball” that won’t damage furniture or break delicate indoor objects. You can also play a quick game of volleyball by blowing up a balloon and lining up plastic cups or rolls of toilet paper for the net.
#6. Shake, rattle, and roll. Tell your children to stand side-by-side and run in place as fast as they can for a minute. Then shake, shake, shake their bodies moving from top to bottom. Instruct them to shake their heads, wiggle their shoulders, move their torsos side to side, shake each hand, then each arm. Shake the right leg then the left leg. Shake each foot and then reverse direction and go from the bottom of the body to the head. Finally, drop to the floor and roll — without bumping in to anyone else in the process!
#7. Be still. Grab a pillow from the couch, plop it on the carpet, and have your child sit with legs crossed, allowing their mind to wander and daydream. Take note of any interesting thoughts or ideas that come up when the time is up. Brilliance can be born out of boredom.
#8. Shadow puppets. Make a rabbit, an eagle, or a face with your hands.
Grab a torch and find a wall.
Show your kids how to make shadow puppets with their hands.
#9. Have a musical moment. Demonstrate the mood-altering impact of music by playing a soft tune and asking your child to close their eyes and place a hand on their chest to feel their heart rate slow. Then play a lively tune and dance. Your child will quickly understand how music naturally inspires movement. You can also play a favourite song and ask your kids to name the type of instrument being played: percussion, brass, woodwind, string, or keyboard.
#10. Play a quick and silly game of “Simon Says.” The kids will love playing with mum and dad.
#11. Practice good posture. Have your child stand against the wall with their heels pressed to the skirting board. Tell them to stand up straight, press their shoulder blades against the wall, lift their chin and look straight ahead. Place a book on top of their head and see if they can keep it balanced while walking across the room.
15-Minute Focus Sharpeners
When family members start to feel restless, mix things up with these 15-minute break ideas.
#12. Tabletop fun with cards. A deck of cards can be used for more than just “Go Fish,” “Snap” and “Old Maid.” Cards can be a source of entertainment and simple construction projects. Plenty of quick, easy card trick tutorials are available online, and kids of all ages love to build a house of cards. Your child can also test their telepathic powers by pulling a card from the deck, hiding its face, and seeing if they can use their innate “powers” to name the card.
#13. Learn math by singing. Addition, subtraction, multiplication, and even fractions may be easier to understand and execute through song. Use music and rhythm to promote learning. See if adding some jingles to your day makes a difference.