Tips to Promote Good Posture in Your Kids
“Stop slouching!” If you were raised by parents who cared about posture, you likely heard that phrase in your childhood more times than you can count. Aunts and uncles, gym teachers, and coaches also liked to get in on the (good-natured) corrective action. Yet, odds are you still have suboptimal posture habits. According to the American Posture Institute, 90% of the population still has posture that will negatively affect their health. Posture goes hand-in-hand with your spinal health, your nervous system, and other aspects of your physical well-being. Bad posture can have negative effects on your physicality and quality of life. The thing is, you know the basics of good posture and how to practice it – it’s just hard breaking bad habits. This is why it’s important to develop good posture habits early in life. And if you have kids, you may be wondering how to promote good posture with them beyond nagging them to sit up straight. After all, you can’t monitor their posture 100% of the time. So to help you out (we’re cool like that!), here are a few tips to keep your kids practicing good posture. Postural Examinations Every child should have a postural examination – to determine if they exhibit good posture, and also to examine for abnormal spine curvature. These exams should take place by age 6, and can be performed by your child’s pediatrician or a specialist – although in some cases, schools will bring in medical professionals as a service. These exams can serve as a baseline for future examinations. After the initial exam, your child should have an annual follow-up to make sure their spine and posture is developing in the right way. Backpacks School age children tend to carry overloaded backpacks that put too much strain on their backs and force them to lean forward or arch their back to carry the load, rather than standing up straight. This is terrible for posture and spinal health in general. You should help your child organize their backpacks and leave behind things they don’t need each day – using lockers or keeping unneeded books at home. Check out our blog on this very topic for tips on keeping your child’s backpack load light. Avoid Tech Neck Both children and adults these days spend a lot of time looking at screen – our phones, tablets, and computers. While interacting with our technology, our tendency is to position our necks toward the screen in our hands, lap, or desk. This can cause major problems by putting too much unnecessary weight and pressure on our necks. Read our blog on tech neck to learn more about the potential damage we’re doing to ourselves every time we crane our necks toward a screen, and how we can combat this modern malady. Sports Several activities and sports promote good posture through the nature of the movements required. Gymnastics, yoga, and swimming are all great examples of activities that require close attention to body positioning and form. Lead by Example Lastly, promoting good posture is a case of leading by example and providing motivation. When your children practice good posture, make sure they know they’re doing the right thing – kids tend to thrive on positive reinforcement. In addition, kids tend to emulate their role models. For young children, that’s still you (enjoy it while you can!). All the good advice in the world may not mean much if you’re still slumping and slouching your way through life. Stand tall and your children will be more likely to stand with you!