The PBIS World Book

Snack Break

Why should I do it:

  • Works well with younger students
  • Kids are highly motivated by food items (even healthy ones!)
  • To provide students with a cool down time
  • To allow students time away from a stressful or potentially stressful situation
  • It can help avoid a power struggle between you and the student
  • Can help students to “reset” and return to a task fresh
  • Takes student’s mind off what may be hindering them
  • Helps break up monotonous tasks, assignments, activities, etc
  • Can improve motivation and effort
  • Helps students to refocus on the task at hand
  • Helps rejuvenate student energy and enthusiasm
  • Helps get students blood moving and metabolism active

When should I do it:

  • When a student gets off task and is beginning to be disruptive but not problematic
  • When a student is distracted
  • When a student is slowing down on the task at hand and losing interest/motivation
  • When a student’s energy level seems low and they appear sluggish
  • When you are aware of an ADD/ADHD diagnosis
  • When student seems fidgety, moves a lot, cannot sit still
  • When student is becoming frustrated or agitated with the task at hand
  • When a student seems to be getting bored, sleepy, or their eyes are glazing over
  • When a student’s emotions and/or behaviors need to be deescalated
  • When a task is long and drawn out
  • When the class needs to be reenergized and freshened up
  • When the class needs a moment to be social

How do I do it:

  • Identify the student(s) in need of the break or have the whole class participate
  • Ask the students to stop why they are doing, get out or retrieve a snack, and sit and eat for a moment
  • Students may or may not socialize during snack breaks
  • Students may continue working while snacking, a “working snack break”
  • Students may provide their own snacks or the teacher may provide them
  • Snacks should preferably be something healthy, like carrots, fruit, crackers, etc
  • You may set a timer during the snack break
  • Snack breaks may be drawn out by using small food items like cereal where after each problem, item, or section the class goes over, they stop and eat 5 Cheerios or Corn Flakes then continue to the next item or section

Alternative Methods:

  • Breaks may be less formal and simply involve getting a snack
  • Breaks may be as simple as a student moving to another spot in the classroom
  • Breaks may include sending a student on an errand, taking a note or paper to another teacher or the office, or some other task that gets the student up and out for a short break