7 ways to protect your child from BAD posture

March 28, 2014

Written by Dr Leigh Sheldrick

I just saw a new patient, a fifteen year old boy with a pretty poor posture. What shocks me the most about this is that I am no longer shocked.  I almost now get surprised when I see a new patient in my practice with a good posture.  There is no doubt in my mind that children’s postures are deteriorating and no matter what else we do for our children’s health we must do more when it comes to their posture.

Parents are always moaning to me that their kids spend far too much time on their digital gadgets. This generation is now coined the digitally dependant generation and with Australian research showing that children spend on average seven hours a day on screen time (excluding TV!) this is no surprise.  Now the researchers are asking what effect does this have on our children’s health and wellbeing.   Well the effect is significant and wide reaching. Here are only some of the effects:

  • Poor posture.
  • Poor eyesight.
  • You can strain your wrist, thumb and elbow.
  • You can have problems with your sleep.
  • Your social skills can suffer.
  • Your body can store more energy than it uses leading to weight problems.

So what can we do? I know we at Ollie Owl never let up but as a parent you can’t just ignore the effect of poor posture on your children’s lives.  As a parent I know screening our children from technology is just not practical. What you can do however is

  1. Break up screen time in to half hour chunks. After half an hour our lower back support muscle fatigue and allow us to slump.
  2. Encourage children to work at a desk with a chair or better still set up a standing station for them.(Our body is just not designed for long periods of sitting)
  3. Get kids actively involved in understanding the effects of poor posture on their health. Kids like to know the reason they should do something. Look at our stop the slouching blog The heavy head experiment
  4. Laptops do not allow for good ergonomics.  If your child has a laptop they absolutely should be using an external keyboard so that the height of the screen can be at eyelevel without straining the eyes.  The Rain Design m Stand is about $80 and allows for the computer to be lifted neatly to eye height while leaving plenty of room for cables and keyboards.
  5. If your child just can’t resist sitting on the sofa then Ikea sell a laptop support called a BRADA laptop support for $7.99.
  6. Ollie Owl has a lovely simple printable download with series of stretches to minimise postural stress.
  7. And of course, protect your children while they sleep with an Ollie Owl contoured pillow for children.

The research is out there.  The government is on it.  As parents it is now up to you!