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.
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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A blog about my life in The Old House, a mum to teenagers, a primary school teacher and my passion for gardening.