Here at HSL, we are proud to have lots of information and helpful advice about maintaining good posture as adults, however, we recognise the importance of developing this in our children and grandchildren too. Learning to ride a bike, developing a language skill, remembering to use our manners; so many habits and skills are better if started at an early age, and this too is true of learning good posture.
If you need any persuasion, the side effects of poor posture at an early age go so much further than it just looking unattractive; it also leads to neck and back strain, carpel tunnel syndrome, and long-term issues such as abnormal bone growth, which is very difficult to correct later in life.
According to Child and Youth Health (American publication), posture is the manner and position in which a child or young adult holds his head, neck, back and spine, as well as his arms and legs when standing, sitting or lying down. Bad posture is usually a result of a combination of physical and environmental issues, such as leaning over to type or play on a computer that is too low.
According to the Chiropractic Association, children may also develop bad posture from an overweight backpack, or, as the Academy of Paediatrics highlights, through stooping to “blend in” with shorter peers. Finally, poor posture also results from weak abdominal and back muscles, often due to under-use and not enough exercise.
So how can we make sure our children and grandchildren don’t fall into the traps of bad posture? How can we help their future physical and emotional development? Child and Youth Health states that good posture is when a child’s back has the least amount of strain placed on it through keeping bones and joints aligned properly, and allowing muscles to be used as they should.
The good news is that proper posture is entirely possible, from mindfulness of body alignment, plus daily exercise that children probably already love, including riding a bike, running and playing sports.
To help your child or grandchild achieve better posture without constant reminders from you, try to make it fun! Besides their usual daily physical activities (and encourage plenty of those), have your child watch TV or play computer games while sitting on an exercise/yoga ball, both strengthening core muscles and making a bit of a game of usually static activities.
Make it easy for a child to use correct posture by ensuring their desk, chair and computer are appropriately sized and aligned. Lastly, for those under the age of 10, keep their backpack no heavier than 5% of their body weight, this can be increased to 10% for young people over 10 years old.
There are certain statements that are common knowledge no matter who you speak to. First, habits learnt at an early age stay with us throughout life (if we keep practicing them); and second, prevention is better than a cure. We are never too young to develop and maintain good posture. Where better for us to start, than in the home?
The mind-set of having great posture is always at the forefront of our thinking here at HSL, and that’s why our Comfort Specialists in store have been trained by our Occupational Therapist, Julie Jennings, Dip COT HCPC, and will do a 7-Point Seating Assessment™ before advising you on the right CleverComfort™ designed chair, sofa or bed for you.