“Sit up straight, don’t slouch!” We’ve all heard this phrase many times as children. Parents seem to understand the importance of having good posture, but do they really understand why it is so imperative?
Correct posture plays a fundamental role in the anatomical development of children from a young age. Posture refers to the body’s alignment and positioning with respect to the ever-present force of gravity. Whether we are standing, sitting or lying down, gravity exerts a force on our joints, ligaments and muscles. When the body is in proper alignment, the bones, not the muscles support our weight, reducing overall effort and strain.
Think about it, the first thing you notice about people is not usually their eyes, their hair, or even their clothes. It’s their posture. Looking fantastic, shouldn’t be the only reason to improve your posture. Health is really the most important factor! What begins as merely a visual posture imbalance can lead to spinal degeneration, dysfunctional muscle patterns, and chronic pain, if not corrected.
What does proper posture look like?
The spine is straight for lack of a better word because there are naturally occurring slight curvatures where the neck and upper back intersect, and the lower back. The abdominal muscles should be strong and appear contracted to support the lower back. The shoulders and the head are slightly drawn back as it is optimal to have the ears and shoulders in the same alignment. Equal weight should be distributed over both of the hips and feet, with the hips knees and ankles tracking in the same alignment.
Training proper postural habits needs to start at a young age. As a parent, what can you do to improve your child’s posture?
Consider these five tips to help your child have better posture:Teach Your Child the “Postural ABCs”:
First, it is important to help instill postural awareness in your child, and to demonstrate proper posture yourself as an example to follow. The “Postural ABCs” can easily be remembered to promote good postural habits throughout the day. “A” is for alignment of the spine, “B” is for balance, and “C” is for core control.
Praise Your Child:
Be sure to praise your child when they make an effort to try and maintain good posture. Positive reinforcement always works. When you observe your child standing up straight, compliment them by letting them know how tall and grown up they appear. Soon your child will be motivated to stand straight all the time.
Lead by Example:
Encourage your child by having good posture yourself! Your posture may have deteriorated without you realizing it, our habits as a society have certainly contributed to that. Be conscious of your own postural habits and lead by example.
A Quick And Simple At-Home Posture Check:
To detect misalignments and postural abnormalities or possible concerns, you can do this simple at-home postural test with your child.
- Kneeling behind them is often better than standing, if necessary so you are eye level with their lower back and pelvis. The shoulders and the shoulder blades appear even, not elevated or depressed.
- Then look at the hips, are the hips level, or is one slightly higher than the other?
- Take a good look from the side. The ears, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles should all be in the same alignment. If the head or abdomen protrudes forward, it causes additional stress on the neck, upper and lower back.
- Now from the front see if both feet are pointed straight ahead. Observe the knees. The knee caps should be even and not pointed inward or outward. Please note, if postural imbalances are detected, your child should have a complete postural analysis done by a Physiotherapist.
Have Posture Photos Taken Once a Year:
From the age of 6 years old, all children should have a thorough postural analysis of their posture. By taking regular posture photos, it will be easier to detect postural imbalances at a young age and correct them before the child experiences pain or discomfort, or chronic issues arise.