Back to School Posture

The Importance of Posture

By Dr. Tara Guthrie

As children and teens once again prepare to go back to school, the importance of good posture once again comes into play.

Most children begin developing bad postural habits early in their years, when they get their first X-box Nintendo game for Christmas: They play for hours on end while sitting slouched on the floor, furiously banging on a small keypad. This bad posture gets worse while in school: 7 hours a day sitting slouched in a chair at school, only to come home and once again slouch over that Nintendo machine until the wee hours of the night!

Bad posture can come in many forms:

  • Slouching in a chair, either at school or on a couch and at the dinner table  at home.
  • Carrying a  bookbag only on one shoulder
  • Teenagers who get tall, or undergo puberty earlier than most kids will have a tendency to slouch to make themselves look shorter, or to minimize breast development.

It is important to try to get your children to improve their posture at an early age. They will less likely to develop the myriad of back problems that plague people in adulthood.

Here are some things to try:

  1. At the dinner table, always correct their posture if they are slouching.
  2. Try to keep good posture yourself: They will be far more likely to develop your good habits if you have no bad habits.
  3. Always buy backpacks that can be worn on both shoulders, and encourage them to wear it on both shoulders as often as they can.
  4. Compliment them if they look like they are trying to keep good posture.
  5. Don’t let them read or do homework while lying down on a bed or the floor- it is very stressful on the back.

Bad posture is much easier to correct in the early years. When one has been slouching for 20 years, it is incredibly difficult for people to kick the “Bad Posture” habit!

People who have had good posture from the teenage years experience greater confidence and charisma than those with poor posture.

Try this out: tighten your lower abs, arch your back a bit, bring your shoulders  back and down, and raise your head. This is the posture adopted by most humans and animals when they are trying to exude an authoritative, confident stance. As the saying goes:  “walk the walk”. Encouraging your children to maintain good postural habits will benefit them both physically and mentally in the years to come.