How to Get your Kids to Stop Slouching

Here are some parents tips to help your children stop slouching and focus on productive work.

Imagine your kids' schedule. They sit for a long period of time while studying.. In their free time is divided between playing video games and surfing the Internet using their smartphone or computer.

The ongoing theme? Their arms are in front and their heads are down. Slouching becomes their default state.

As a parent, you want to nip this bad habit in the bud to prevent long-term ill effects like abnormal spinal development, arthritis, and joint degeneration. This leads us to the big question - how do you get your kids to stop slouching?

1. Check that School Backpack

One of the most common culprits of back pain and poor posture in children is a heavy backpack. According to this research, a child's backpack should only weigh about 10% of his body weight at most. That means that if your child is 71 pounds, his backpack weight should only be 7 pounds max.

The height of the backpack should go from about two inches below the shoulder blades to slightly above waist level. It should have padded straps and back. Having multiple compartments helps with weight distribution.

Proper backpack usage also includes:
  • Encourage your kids to use the hip belt, whenever possible, to reduce the load on the neck and shoulder muscles.
  • Arrange the contents of the backpack so that the weight is evenly distributed. Heavy items should be placed closer to the back.
  • Remind your children to take off their backpacks whenever possible. For example, they can put it on the ground or on the bench while waiting for the school bus.
  • Don't wear the backpack over just one shoulder.
  • Adjust the straps so that the bag sits close to the back.

2. Encourage Them to Be More Active

Strengthening key muscle groups like the glutes and abdominal muscles is vital in supporting good posture. This is why encouraging your kids to exercise and be active in general can help.

Martial arts, dance, and yoga are some activities that enhance the back and core muscles. You can even turn it into a bonding session with your kids.

If the weather is nice, you can go out and ride bikes. Slight inclines and hills will get your kids' arms and abs working to pump more power to their legs.

Be creative. Games are also a fun way to make them fitter and ultimately have better posture.

Try playing My Fair Lady with your kids. The goal is to walk across the room carrying a book on the head without it falling off. Another fun game is to imitate different animal walks like crab, cat, duck, snake, and flamingo walks.

3. Teach your Kids How to Sit

Good posture is mainly a conscious decision, especially during those crucial formative years.

When your kids sit, observe and correct any poor posture immediately. Over time this will evolve to become a habit for them.

When your kid is reading or studying, experts recommend the 90-90-90 rule. That is, a straight back that makes a 90 degree angle to their thighs, bent knees at 90 degrees to the thighs, and flat feet.

4. Help Build Your Kids' Self-Esteem

This issue is often overlooked but your kid might be slouching due to a low self-esteem.

It might be that your daughter is tall or she developed early. Some tall girls feel embarrassed when they tower over their peers. So they slouch to appear shorter. Girls who develop quickly also sometimes hunch forward to make their chest less noticeable.

What can you do to support your child during this awkward period?

  • Tell your teen that this is a natural and beautiful part of her journey of being a woman.
  • Help her shop for a supportive and well-fitted bra to help evenly distribute the weight of her chest.
  • Casually teach your daughter how to dress for her height. Buy magazines with sample outfits that would flatter her tallness. Don't make a fuss about it and just casually leave them around for her to browse.

5. Be a Good Role Model

Use visual aids to show your children what a good sitting and standing posture look like. Of course, it goes without saying that whatever you preach, you should practice as well.

At the same time, don't forget to praise your kids for their efforts whenever possible. Constructive feedback is just as important to let them know how they can further improve their posture.

It's also a good idea to audibly remind yourself to not slouch. This way your child will be mindful of his or her own posture from hearing you self-correct.

6. Consult Your Doctor

If after all these tips and your child still seems to be slouching, it's a good idea to consult your doctor. Your son or daughter might have a physical condition that's causing him or her to hunch.

For example, many people live with undiagnosed scoliosis. This is a condition wherein the spine has an S- or C-shaped curvature.

Another possible cause is kyphosis, an excessive arching of the upper back. This can be congenital or due to some other condition.

7. Other Helpful Tips

  • Keep the feet flat on the floor while sitting. Avoid twisting or sitting cross-legged.
  • Limit the use of gadgets and encourage them to take a break every 30 minutes.
  • Discourage your child from doing his or her homework in bed.
  • Help your child to maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight weakens the muscles and can contribute to poor posture.
  • Encourage your daughter to wear low-heeled shoes. High-heeled shoes might look nice but they can harm your posture.
  • Remind your kid to bring the food to him instead of bringing his head down to the food.


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