“A stitch in time saves nine” is an apt adage for children’s spine health. Parents often worry that poor posture in their children may have a long-term impact – a valid concern. Experts link incorrect posture during childhood to a host of issues in the future, such as back pain, arthritis, poor circulation, etc. On the bright side, since the nervous system and bone health are pliable in young children, there is ample opportunity for parents to remedy postural errors. The trick lies in making minor corrections early rather than waiting for chronic issues to arise.
What affects a child’s posture
As they go about their daily activities, children’s and teens’ posture is the most important area of focus. Some children engage a lot with online learning and classes, leading to higher screen time. Slouching over a device, holding it too close to one’s eyes, sitting for long periods without changing position – all these habits reflect poor posture. In other cases, teens undergoing a growth spurt may struggle with embracing and adapting to physical changes such as weight or height gains. Highly active children may also suffer from injuries that affect how they sit, sleep, move, and play.
What can parents do to improve it?
- Children tend to mimic the postures they see in adults, so first off, parents must demonstrate healthy sitting, standing, and working postures themselves. Children may follow the same ergonomic rules of adult postures. E.g., when using mobile devices, sit with elbows, knees, and hips at 90-degree angles, and place the device at eye level to avoid neck strain – or tech neck.
- Since most furniture isn’t made child-sized, parents can take the aid of props such as short stools to support the feet and pillows/cushions to reinforce their child’s back when sitting at tables. Maintaining the correct posture is essential whether children are engaged in observing a lesson on a screen or writing an assignment.
- Incorporate lots of movement during an activity. Encourage children to shift their position to improve circulation and avoid tightness. For example, they can change from sitting to standing positions or lie on their tummies every 10-15 minutes when engaged in long activities.
- Practice healthy habits such as wearing a school bag on both shoulders and staying active daily to loosen and strengthen muscles. Another technique is to click and share pictures of their posture during different activities so children can see first-hand how they can improve. This gives them a visual cue so they can self-correct or re-orient their bodies when prompted by adults.
- Chiropractic care can also help children align their nervous systems, correct minor and major spinal faults, and improve circulation. It allows them to remain energetic and flexible rather than struggling with the fatigue and strain that accompany bad posture.
Inculcating postural awareness goes a long way in the proper development of young bodies and minds. Following the above tips will assist children and teens in correcting their posture – a lesson that benefits them immensely in the long term.