Back to School: The importance of good posture

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Maintaining good posture ensures your body is in good alignment and that stress on your muscles, joints and ligaments are distributed evenly across your body. Poor posture can cause increased strain on your body, leading to fatigue, tight or achy muscles in your neck, back, arms and legs, joint stiffness and pain.

Signs of poor posture or poor core strength:

  • Slouching back in chair
  • Leaning forward close to the paper
  • Constant movement or shifting positions
  • Resting head in non-dominant hand or on the table

What does correct sitting posture look like?

  • Feet flat on the floor
  • Thighs parallel to floor and knees at a 90 degree angle
  • Back up straight, inclined towards the desk and pivoted from the hips
  • Forearms resting on desk with elbows level with the desktop at 90 degrees
  • Neck and shoulders relaxed
  • Body faces desk squarely so non-dominant arm can support body weight

Correct posture in sitting and standing is where the ear, shoulder and hip fall in a straight line when looking from a side-on view.

Tips for good posture in the classroom or homework study space:

  1. Visual cue cards: providing a picture of what good posture looks like displayed on a child’s desk or on the whiteboard can be a visual reminder each time a child is seated at their desk.
  2. Slope board: This can be used for children who slump over their work as it encourages them to sit up straighter and to keep their head a good distance from the paper.
  3. Ensure that chairs and desks are the appropriate size and height for your child. The chair should allow their feet to touch the floor when their bottom is positioned at the back of the chair. The backrest should provide support from the lower back to the shoulder blades
  4. Encourage regular walking, moving and stretching breaks when sitting for prolonged periods at the computer, doing homework, watching TV or playing video games. Posture reversal reduces fatigue and potential strain and pain in muscles, ligaments and joints. Long periods of sitting should be combined with different positions such as standing or lying on their tummy to stretch out their back
  5. Encourage your child to be physically active and involved in regular exercise

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