Posture for children is important even in preschool 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. Once they are in school in higher grades and they spend more and more time sitting, posture becomes even more important.
Reasons for Poor Posture
Frequently an adult assumes a child is just not trying or forgetting to sit correctly. However there are other reasons a child may slouch or slump which are not in his control. A teacher or parent should rule out medical conditions such as scoliosis (Curvature of the spine). Additionally, a child who slumps constantly with head lowered may be having problems with depression or low self-esteem. These need to be addressed as well. If a child has no medical, physical or emotional reasons for bad posture then teaching them correct posture is essential for success in school.
Physical Response to Sitting Incorrectly
When limbs and bones are scrunched together in a way they werenâ€™t meant to be it can cause physical pain. Many backaches and a stiff neck in students are traced back to how they are sitting. In fact, repeated poor posture in children contributes greatly to spinal deformities as an adult. In other words if a student doesnâ€™t â€œstraighten upâ€ now, they may find as an adult that they are unable to. In addition poor posture causes eye strain because of the lack of oxygen and because of looking at a blackboard or book from an awkward angle. If they canâ€™t see the work and their brain is not fully alert due to the slouching, they canâ€™t remember and learn.
Mental Response to Poor Posture
Childrenâ€™s brains are learning and growing. This means their brains need proper oxygen. When a child slouches down it squeezes the diaphragm. This results in improper breathing which in turn restricts the oxygen flow to the brain. This affects a childâ€™s ability to remember what he is being taught. Lack of oxygen also causes sluggish thinking and mental exhaustion so a child may lose focus before the day is finished. Performance on tests and homework suffers snowballing into a distressed child who feels they are â€œdumbâ€ because they are getting lower grades.
Poor Posture and Moods
It is already known that moods can affect a childâ€™s posture. Depressed, angry or sad children tend to draw in their bodies, slump down in their seat and try to be less noticeable. Now recent research suggests that the posture can also change a good mood into a bad one. Much has been said about the power of positive thinking affecting how we feel, but it seems that the power of posture does this as well. Scientists and medical experts are still studying this but in one study where participants played a game, those directed to have an expansive posture did much better than those directed to sit poorly or with a closed in scrunched posture. They also had more confidence. Plus those with the best postures had higher testosterone levels and less cortisol in the body. So if a child practices good posture, the research suggests the body position a better happier mood.
How to Educate Good Posture
Assist a school age child by starting good posture tactics early as young as age two. At school age level show children in the mirror what good posture looks like. Be sure to have them look at their side view as a front view of themselves will not show the spine. Adjust desk size for larger or taller children so they can sit correctly as well as comfortably. Incorporate learning activities about postural health. Discuss spinal deformities and conditions that adults have as a result of poor posture as children. If a child is old enough you can show photos of these. For younger children you can draw a spine.
School children are tomorrowâ€™s future. It is in everyoneâ€™s best interest to ensure they grow up healthy. Improving their posture and educating them on its importance is one of the best ways to accomplish that.
This is a guest post by freelance writer Jim Stockton who regularly covers health and lifestyle. Jim gets his chairs for comfortable and healthy sitting at Worldmarket.com.