With the dawn of technology infiltrating into every facet of our lives, it is no surprise that we spend most of our waking hours staring into either our smartphones, tablets, laptops or desktop computers. There is also ‘FOMO‘ (fear of missing out) which is as though we are under some sort of a spell that keeps us hooked onto our gizmos. The moment we put our gadgets to sleep, somehow there is a niggling often ever growing fear that we will lose out on a lot of information. While our precious eyes often face the brunt of our digital addiction with resulting dryness, our spines are not spared either – thanks to poor/incorrect posture. The same holds good for school-going kids.
To be precise, posture is the human body’s distinct ability to control its position against natural external forces. Posture can be static (sitting in one position) and dynamic (moving position). While the child is in the initial growing phase, it is imperative that good postural habits are taught to ensure proper development of the body muscles and spine. If the posture is not corrected at this stage, then there can be adverse effects on the child’s spinal development resulting in a whole host of health discomforts including and not limited to neck pain, back pain and headaches.
Here are some of the most common causes for bad posture in children:
- Weak back and abdominal muscles
- Disorders of the central nervous system
- Disorders of the peripheral nervous system
- Ear/Eye problems
- Musculoskeletal problems
Here are some tips that you as a parent/teacher should consider to improve your child’s posture:
- While your child watches television or plays computer games, make him/her sit on a stability ball. The ball has a positive effect on the strengthening of the child’s back muscles and further enhances stability of the spine.
- Make sure your child is using chairs of appropriate size when on the computer or the writing table. The child should be able to rest his/her shoulders and the neck firmly on the upper back portion of the chair. Not just that, positioning the chair at the correct height is also crucial in maintaining a good posture. Ensure the child’s elbow height is at table height while in the sitting position. Do not position the table at the child’s shoulder height. This will result in a lot of difficulty in writing or drawing.
- As your child reaches school-going age, make a note of the school bag’s weight. Instead of normal school, try out rucksack bags. These bags are much more comfortable than regular school bags. Make sure that your child does not carry the school bag on one shoulder only. In situations when the bag is quite heavy, the child should be taught to carry the bag in such a manner that the overall weight of the bag is borne by both the shoulders equally. This will effectively reduce the level of stress on one shoulder.
- Always motivate and encourage your child to sit/stand straight. Kids always need positive reinforcement. The more you see your child sitting or standing straight, the more you should praise them. A little encouragement will go a long way in correcting poor posture at an early stage.
- It goes without saying that you will have to lead by example. Practice good posture yourself and children who are mostly predisposed in imitating their parents, will follow suit.
- Encourage your child to participate in ballet dancing as these kinds of activities seldom result in your child having a slouched posture.
- Make your child balance a book on his/her head. Without dropping the book, make the child to walk around the hall. This is not possible if the child is tilting his/her head in a backward or forward position.
- Last but not the least, it is wise to buy ergonomic furniture which will have a positive impact in your child maintaining a good posture in the long run.