One of the most common questions I get from parents at Rooted Life Chiropractic is related to their child’s posture. With phones, tablets, computers, gaming devices, and prolonged sitting, children nowadays are more prone to have a slouched posture with rolled in shoulders. Most parents are concerned about the appearance of posture but more importantly it can actually affect their health currently and down the road. Neck pain, headaches, low back pain and shoulder pain are some obvious symptoms that can result from poor posture. But it can also lead to things like difficulty sleeping, anxiety and depression. Healthy posture happens naturally when the bones of the spine can move freely and are properly aligned and also when the muscles throughout the entire body are properly balanced in strength and use.
What does healthy posture look like? Starting from the top, your head should be positioned directly over the shoulders. Every inch forward the head is in relation to the shoulders puts and extra 10 lbs of pressure on the neck. Additionally, the shoulders should be held back and down, away from the ears. Asymmetric shoulder height and shoulders rolled forward is an indication that the spine might be curved (scoliosis) and is recommended to be checked by a pediatric chiropractor.
There are several things you can implement in to your child’s life that will help improve their posture. 1.) In addition to adequate daily activity, have your kiddo sit on a stability ball while watching TV or playing video games. This forces them to engage their core and sit up straight. 2.) Keep an extra set of textbooks at home to reduce the weight of their book bag (it should be no more than 10% of their body weight). 3.) Limit the amount of time they have on their phone, tablet and gaming device. 4.) Probably the most effective technique though is “monkey see monkey do”. You are their role model! So when they see their parents exercising, reducing screen time, eating healthy and maintaining great posture they intuitively create healthy habits without even being aware of it. It’s never too late (or early) to begin healthy habits!