In our digital age, it’s no surprise that posture gets a push to the side. Oftentimes, form is compromised from computer use, cellular use, and especially for school-aged kids, from backpacks. As our kids grow up with technologies, we never want to see posture take a back seat because it can cause complications with pain and balance. Are you ready to help your kids achieve great posture?
Awareness is always the first step in making improvements. If you are unaware of a problem, the issue persists. Posture doesn’t necessarily produce discomfort, but over time, you will take notice. For kids, it can be challenging to constantly remind them of good posture, but even strengthening muscles can help. Keep in mind that the more active your kiddo is with sport or another moving form, the stronger muscles in the back and abdominals will become. Abdominal and back strength go a long way to improving form. Just another reason why regular exercise rocks!
We know that extra weight on our bodies does not do us any favors. The same logic applies to backpacks. Backpacks force our kiddos to compensate for the extra baggage, so to speak. When they do that, they compromise the natural curve of the spine, which results in muscle strain. In order to prevent this, we must aim to pack lighter or move items to a backpack that can roll.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that backpack weight be 10 – 20 percent of the body weight, and no more than that! If you suspect that a backpack is too heavy for your kiddo, make sure that they clear out anything that they don’t need weekly. Carrying a lunch bag for food and drinks can help move weight off of the back as well. If it’s not necessary, go ahead and lose it.
Computers and Cell Phones
Actively working to improve posture is sometimes harder to address because we are not always aware of our position in relation to the world. Practicing mindfulness will help get your kiddo where they want to go with good posture, but we must first teach what this looks like. When sitting at a computer, it’s best to put your back against the back of a chair. Feet should be flat on the floor and the knees at a right angle. Try not to lean forward by bringing the chair close to the table. To advance this practice, remember to relax your shoulders as much as possible, which releases tension.
Cell phones, like computers, can cause strain on the back and neck muscles due to the angle of a head tilt. Teaching your kids to be as straight as often as possible can alleviate issues. Set rules about cell phone usage such as not using it in bed or on the couch. Encourage your child to also stretch, move around, and take breaks from the phone. You can set timers to remind your kiddo (or you) from spending too much time in front of a device whether that be a computer or cell phone. Easier said than done, we know, but parents modeling this behavior will serve as a strong influence. Remember to be light as a feather, not stiff as a board.