It’s not uncommon to overhear a parent telling their child to sit up straight as there are numerous reasons as to why posture is thought to be important worldwide. Some believe that it is indicative of good manners, exudes confidence or is a signifier of class – but at the end of the day does it really matter? Yes! But not necessarily for any of the reasons listed above. Good posture, especially for children, is ultimately important for optimum health and development.
Health Benefits of Good Posture
There are many ways that good posture supports your child’s health, such as:
- Allowing them to breathe better
- Improving their blood circulation
- Aiding in digestion
- Maintaining healthy joints and muscles
- Keeping the spine in proper alignment
- Improving their frame of mind
- Increasing brain activity and promoting learning
- Counteracting fatigue
- Preventing the development of abnormal bone growth
- Reducing the risk of developing various diseases connected to the musculoskeletal system.
Ways you can Help Promote Good Posture
There are lots of reasons to help promote good posture in your children, but we know it isn’t always easy. Here are some simple and effective ways to improve your children’s posture:
- Make Them More Aware: Make having good posture a priority. Teaching your children how to sit and stand up straight will help them become more aware of their bodies. Depending on their age, maybe even have a conversation as to why sitting or standing upright is important for their health and wellbeing.
- Positive Affirmation: People enjoy being noticed, acknowledged and praised for good work and this is especially true for children. Take note and verbalize to your child what great posture they have when they demonstrate it, this will encourage them to repeat the behavior.
- Be a Positive Role Model: It’s important to practice what you preach. Children are highly observant and will notice discrepancies when you tell them to sit up straight without doing so yourself. Be aware of your own posture, not only will it positively impact you, but it will also reinforce your message.
- Enroll Your Child in Activities: Certain activities like ballet, yoga or tai chi teach children to be aware of their bodies and the movements they make. These kinds of activities encourage self-discipline and careful attention to details. If classes are unavailable, there are lots of child-friendly instructional yoga DVDs or online videos that you can follow together.
- Keep Kids Active: Physical activity is essential in promoting good posture. Keeping kids active instead of in front of the television or computer screen can make all the difference. Activities like basketball, soccer and swimming are great for developing good posture while building muscle and maintaining overall health. If nothing else, keep it simple and encourage your children to go outside and play.
- Make Good Posture into a Fun Game: It might sound a zany, but you could turn good posture into a game by having your child balance a book on their head while they walk around the house. This will teach them how to stand without tilting their neck forward or backward and can actually be a fun challenge.
- Walk Barefoot When Possible: Once ensuring that an environment is safe, like in the yard, allow your children to walk around without shoes. Having your children to walk barefoot improves their posture by providing better transmission of sensory information through the legs to the rest of the body.
- Incorporate Ergonomic Furniture into Your Home: Ergonomic furniture promotes good posture and reduces strain on several parts of the body. There are companies that make ergonomic furniture specifically for children. When considering the setup for a child’s workspace, it is important that the desk be at elbow height when they are seated upright. When looking at a computer screen, the monitor should be directly at eye level to avoid strain. If buying furniture is not possible, make some simple adjustments to accommodate their size, or invest in a yoga ball. Yoga balls are a great addition to any workspace as a seat because they engage the lower body and improve balance. Studies suggest that the actions involved in balancing on a yoga ball also improve learning, concentration and memory by stimulating both hemispheres of the brain.
Good posture ultimately leads to a healthier spine and promotes overall well being. Contact us if you have any questions or concerns about your, or your child’s, spinal health.Tags: health, kids, posture