At School / Early Literacy / Inclusion · January 11, 2023 0

Importance of providing break time for children with special needs in the classroom

Teachers often struggle to provide breaks for children with special needs in the classroom. However, breaks can help children of all abilities focus and recharge. A break can also reduce stress and anxiety, which is especially important for students with special needs who are more sensitive to their environments than their peers. Breaks give children an opportunity to practice coping skills that will help them deal with stressful situations later on in life.

Read more: 12 Ways For Teaching Children with Special Needs

Children with special needs need more frequent breaks.

In many cases, children with special needs will require more frequent breaks. The reasoning behind this is that they may have lower energy levels and be unable to manage their emotions as well as their relationship with other students who do not have a diagnosis. While breaks are important for all students, they are especially essential for those who have been diagnosed with certain conditions.

These types of breaks can include:

  • Shortened lesson plans
  • Reduced homework assignments
  • Quieter environments (e.g., no loud music)
break time for children with special needs in the classroom

1. It helps them focus.

In order to understand why break time is important, let’s take a step back and look at how children with special needs learn. When you’re teaching a child with autism or ADHD, for example, their brains work differently than yours does (or the typical child’s). Because of this, they might get easily distracted and lose focus on what you’re trying to teach them. Giving them a break every so often can help them pay attention better in class and make learning easier for everyone involved!

2. Helps them recharge.

Helping students refocus and recharge is also important. A child with special needs can become overwhelmed by sensory stimulation or reactivity. Providing a break to run, jump, use the bathroom or regain control can help them stay focused on the lesson plan and participate in class activities more thoroughly when they return to work.

3. It helps them reduce stress and anxiety.

One of the main reasons you should be giving your child with special needs a break is because it helps them reduce stress and anxiety. This is especially important for children who have difficulty regulating their emotions, or who may experience high levels of stress in certain environments. If they are allowed to take a break from whatever they are doing, they will be able to relax a bit more, which can help them focus on their tasks later on.

4. Teaches impulse control.

Impulse control is the ability to resist an urge or temptation. It’s also the ability to stick with a plan or finish a task despite feeling like quitting. If you have good impulse control, you’ll be able to wait your turn while playing games, and not grab someone else’s toy in the middle of playtime.

If you want the child with special needs to learn how to control his/her impulses, here’s what you can do:

  • Give him/her plenty of opportunity for free play time
  • Distract them when they get too excited about something by offering another activity (like going outside)
  • Help them understand that some things are more important than others and should be done first

5. Break time is important for all children to prevent overstimulation.

It is important to provide break time for all children in a classroom. This can be done through the use of a timer, or pausing the game or activity until the child has had a chance to cool down and reorient themselves. While this may seem obvious, it is often overlooked. Overstimulation can lead to negative behavior such as crying, tantrums and other outbursts that are disruptive to the learning environment at school. Children who are overstimulated may also display physical symptoms like headaches, stomachaches and nausea due to sensory overload.

To prevent these situations from happening in class you need to first identify which students might be sensitive or prone to overstimulation during an activity period like recess or lunchtime (sometimes referred to as “sensory breaks”). You can do this by observing how your students react when being introduced into new situations or environments outside of the classroom.

6. Breaks will make classroom behavior more manageable.

All children benefit from breaks to reduce overstimulation and anxiety. But for children with special needs, this is especially true because they may experience difficulty regulating their emotions in the classroom. If you feel that the child is experiencing a great deal of stress or anxiety, it’s important to provide them with opportunities to practice coping skills during the school day in order to help them better handle behaviors that arise as a result of these feelings (such as acting out).

7. Breaks are important even if a child is unable to participate in physical activity like running around the playground.

You might think that the only reason to take a break is if you want the child to move around and play. However, it is important to remember that even if the child cannot participate in physical activity like running around the playground, they are still in need of breaks. A child with special needs may need breaks as much as any other student in your class, but they will be unable to tell you when they need them!

It is important for children with special needs to have time away from their desks and instruction. If allowed this break time during lesson planning, teachers can find ways for students who require less assistance or supervision during these times.

8. Break time is also an opportunity to practice coping skills.

Aside from providing children with special needs the opportunity to rest and recharge their bodies, break time is also an opportunity to practice coping skills. By allowing the child to take a break from the classroom environment, you are giving them an opportunity to practice coping skills that they may otherwise not have been able to use in class.

For example, if there’s a particular kid who is struggling with anger issues or anxiety when he gets frustrated, it’d be great for him to learn how to calm himself down or even just deal with his different emotions in general.

Children with special needs often need more frequent breaks than the typical child.

If you’re a teacher, you’ve probably noticed that children with special needs often need more frequent breaks than the typical child. Many of the children we see in our classes are easily overstimulated, and they find it hard to focus for long periods of time without a break. Their brains really do work differently than other people’s brains!

We also know that some kids have trouble staying calm when things don’t go their way. They may get stressed out or anxious when things aren’t going their way, which can make it harder for them to learn new skills, especially if they’re feeling distracted by their own emotions (or someone else’s).

It is important that your classroom has ample opportunities for active breaks where children can move around and release energy before returning to learning activities.


There are so many benefits to providing break time for children with special needs. It allows them to refocus, reduce stress and anxiety, and practice coping skills. A good rule of thumb is that if a child seems like they need a break, they probably do!