Straighten up, kid…..Right postures for children: By Dr. Gerd Mueller, MD
Posture is becoming harder to refine nowadays, what with the desk jobs we slog by for hours together and minimal physical activity. Posture in children is important, especially in pre-school, as kids experience a lot of physical and mental growth before four years of age. Things they learn at this age, including proper posture, follow them into their school years and even adulthood.Once kids are in higher grades at school, they spend more and more time sitting. The current best practice is to encourage children to sit in the most upright position they can manage (the right angle position). To help them sit up straight, school furniture is designed with flat or backward sloping seats, with vertical backrest. Now, think what happens when they begin to read or write. In the upright position, they are nowhere near close enough to the book or papers on the flat desk, to read or write comfortably. To do that they have to bend the upper part of their body and force the head and neck down, and that’s how they’ll stay until the reading or writing is done.Poor posture causes eye strain because of the lack of oxygen. Their brains are not fully alert while slouching, and so, they can’t learn and remember efficiently. Children with poor posture are also known to report increased pain in the back and neck as well as headaches.
[Tip: To figure out if the child has a bad posture, look for protruding rounded back and increased lumbar curves. Elevated, rounded shoulders too signal a bad posture]
Children’s brains are continually learning and growing. This means their brains need a good amount of oxygen. A good posture will maintain a positive frame of mind in a child, making learning easier. And the good amount of oxygen and its circulation resulting from a good posture certainly keeps the mind very sharp and alert. Good posture not only has a positive effect in classroom learning, but also in their social interaction.
Can a child spend 10 hours a day sitting up straight? Certainly not.
(The author is the chairman and MD, AktivOrtho)