The Perfect Posture: How can we help our children protect their backs?

Good posture is essential, no matter your age. Failure to master this in your older years could lead to back problems and reduced mobility. As such, many of us attempt, often when it’s too late, to rid ourselves of bad posture habits. In truth, though, posture also matters a great deal when it comes to our children.
We may not think it, of course. The majority of the kids are many years away from back problems, so why should this be an area of concern? But, this should be a prevention instead of cure situation. Those formative years are essential for back health. Fail to get on top of this, and developmental issues could mean back pain much sooner in your child’s life.

With that in mind, there’s no time like the present for passing on those posture lessons. To help you get the point across, we’re going to look at a few of the ways you can help here.
Sit up straight
There are many problems with modern living when it comes to our kids. One of the main issues most parents face is that their children spend endless hours hunched in front of screens. When we were young, those hours were spent playing outside. But, we’re raising a generation who spend more and more time looking down at phones or slouching at the computer. And, already, we’re seeing the damage. Issues such as ‘text neck’ are becoming commonplace. On top of which, more and more children were reporting back pain. It’s easy to see where these issues are sprouting from.
Of course, it would be near enough impossible to take technology out of the equation. Even schools now rely heavily on computer use when it comes to homework. Not to mention that taking your kids offline would set them apart from their peers. But, that’s not to say that you can’t do anything. In truth, sitting isn’t as much of an issue if your kids sit correctly. Instead of slumping, encourage them to sit straight. This will work wonders for spinal health and can make a massive difference to your child’s comfort levels. To ensure they practice good posture, invest in high backed chairs which force them to sit straight.

Child carrying red backpack
Children should be careful when carrying large backpacks.

Encourage breaks
As well as encouraging proper posture, you should urge your child to take regular breaks. This is the practice that even office workers are advised to take. At least every hour, insist that your child stands and does some simple exercises. They may begrudge you this, especially if they’re unable to save their progress. But, that small break can relieve pressure on the spine. You’ll undoubtedly find this easier than banning technology. After all, it’s hardly an unreasonable request, is it? If you come against extreme opposition here, you could always turn this into a fun game. Join in, and develop fun exercises which keep your kids engaged.
Sleep with support
It’s worth thinking about their life outside of technology as well. You can reduce the impact of that time spent looking down, or not sitting correctly, by ensuring they get support elsewhere. Providing support in bed, for instance, ensures they at least practice good posture while sleeping. And, that can go a long way towards easing cricks and pains caused by habits elsewhere. There are many mattress options out there which provide adequate support. You want to look out for memory foam choices which offer better support than anything else out there. Bear in mind, though, that a complete memory foam option may not be as comfortable as your child needs at first. And, we all know how fussy kids can be if they don’t like something. It’s hard to get them to give it a second go. As such, you might want to look into a hybrid mattress like the Tomorrow Sleep Mattress, which offers increased comfort, as well as a memory foam layer. Make sure, too, that you upgrade their bed when they outgrow it. Cramped sleeping conditions can do as much spinal damage as smartphones.
The right after-school activity

It’s also worth encouraging posture-friendly after-school activities. Classes such as ballet and yoga help children to think about their posture. If your child shows a passion for either of these, it’s well worth encouraging them in any way you can. Invest in Yoga DVDs to bring home, or take them along to live ballet shows whenever you get the chance. Anything to ensure that they stay on this path. In no time at all, you’ll notice the difference in how they hold themselves. Due to the lessons they learn, they’ll likely hold themselves straighter, and sit with a flat back. And, in case you hadn’t guessed, that’s the perfect posture you need to look out for.
Lead by example
It’s also worth noting that you should lead by example here. If your kids see you slouched on the sofa, why should they sit properly? If you hunch forward while eating dinner, your kids will likely pick up the habit. For their sake, and that of your back health, you should embark on the perfect posture journey, too. That means paying real attention to your sitting position. You could even enroll yourself in yoga classes, or pilates if you find it easier. Either way, perfect your own flat backed sitting position and make sure your kids see you doing it. It’s incredible how much our kids follow our lead, and altering your behavior could see them doing the same in no time.
The road to perfect posture isn’t a smooth one. There are as many lumps and bumps here as on those curved spines. But, continually remembering this issue can ensure that you get the message across. They may hate it now, but your kids will thank you for this when they’re living back-pain free lives later down the line. If you ever wobble on this path, consider how different your life would be if you’d paid attention to posture in your early years.
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  • Yes, I agree wholeheartedly and as a Pilates instructor myself, really appreciate this reminder about posture, even when we sleep! Well done

    • I love Pilates and have just started teaching a little yoga with my class!

    • Yes, I’m slumped over my iPad too…’s so easy to get into this habit!

  • Musculoskeletal disorder was one of the research studies I covered during my Master’s submission. Only mine related to call centre staff as they sit for long periods. It is vital that we teach our kids the proper posture – thanks for sharing.#fortheloveofblog

  • Oh gosh yes. Posture is everything isn’t it. I’m completely guilty of slouching with the ipad in the evenings and then feeling uncomfortable for an hour or so afterwards. Standing and sitting correctly is so important and you can really feel the difference. Thanks for sharing with the #Dreamteam — I needed this reminder xx

    • Oh No…poor you. I suffer terribly from a bad back but I know that when I work on my core, it is more manageable.

  • I am so thankful that both girls do ballet where posture and stretching are enforced positively. Plus, they see how I struggle with horrible neck and back pain. What a great post for all careegivers out there! xoxo #dreamteam xo

    • Thank you Lisa. Yes, I think ballet is amazing. I have just started Pilates again and I love the strength it gives me -I would really recommend it. xx

  • We love cosmic kids!! My 2 year old is constantly watching the Moana one. Thanks for linking up to #fortheloveofBLOG x

    • They are awesome aren’t they! Thanks for having me. X

  • Well I never really thought about this before for my kids. We don’t really have screen time with them yet but I am aware it will come. I’ll definitely take more note on how my little Sits. ‪Thank you for linking up to the #familyfunlinky‬ it was very informative!

  • As a child I did dance classes and the teacher was very keen on posture. It makes sense to me to pay attention to it but my daughter has been given very conflicting medical advice. The doctor said do Pilates, but the consultant said it wouldn’t do anything. Very confusing. #TeensTweensBeyond

    • Oh…
      I go to a chiropractor and he definately advised Pilates to strengthen my back. I also do yoga with my class and they love it! Maybe your daughter has a very specific diagnosis?

  • This is a really interesting post. I have had concerns about my teens being slumped over a desk when studying or over a guitar in the case of my eldest daughter. My husband is a physiotherapist so I am always going to him with my worries which get met with varying degrees of enthusiasm!! I like the yoga idea. Thanks so much for sharing with us at #TweensTeensBeyond

    • Hi Sharon, Yoga is my new thing and it’s amazing!

  • A really interesting post Sophie. Of course all this leaning over business is going to have an impact on our kids – you are so right. I say that as I sit here legs crossed, hunched over the laptop!!! But, I’m on it now. I am also a big fan of Yoga. I’ve had to have time away and I miss it like a best friend. Thanks so much for sharing with us at #tweensteensbeyond

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