New York Spine Institute Spine Services

4 Posture Tips for Children Going Back to School

4 Posture Tips for Children Going Back to School

By: Angel Macagno, M.D. FAAOS

Dr. Angel Macagno was born and raised in Argentina where, as a board-certified physician, he practiced Orthopedic surgery for 15 years before deciding to fulfill his lifelong goal of practicing medicine in the United States.

As the summer ends and the school year starts again, children will go from outdoor activities to sitting at desks for multiple hours. Whether you’re a teacher or a parent, consider sharing tips and examples of good posture for kids. While it’s not an effective means of scoliosis prevention, proper posture can reduce fatigue, prevent musculoskeletal complications, help maintain proper spinal alignment, and promote better concentration.

1. Sit Smart at a Desk

Children spend most of their time in school sitting at their desks. When they come home, they’ll likely sit more to do homework and eat a meal, all before going to bed and starting the process over again.

Teaching kids the 90-90-90 rule is the perfect start to better desk posture. This consists of:

  • Shoulders back, head up: Our shoulders tend to naturally hunch when sitting down or leaning over something, especially when typing or writing. When sitting, regularly encourage kids to keep their shoulders back and their heads up to naturally straighten their posture. Placing elbows at a 90-degree angle can also help keep their shoulders in the right place when writing or typing.
  • A straight back: Have them keep a straight back at 90 degrees to their hips while completely scooted up against the back of the chair. 
  • Feet flat on the floor: Planting feet flat on the floor can help guide your body to keep a straight back and avoid slouching. Knees should be bent at 90 degrees, completing the 90-90-90 rule.

2. Invest In a Proper Backpack

Backpacks conveniently hold lots of supplies, but that extra weight can be a detriment to your child’s back. Slinging a heavy bag over one shoulder can cause a shift in posture, either leaning the opposite way or scrunching the shoulder so the bag doesn’t fall off. This imbalance can eventually cause knots or upper back pain.

Instead, choose a double-shoulder backpack when your child returns to school. Use the adjuster straps to ensure the backpack fits high and close to the body to reduce muscle strain and encourage safe posture.

3. Avoid Text Neck

When not in school or doing homework, children tend to spend some time scrolling on their smartphones or tablets. The typical posture for this activity involves reclining in a chair with the head and neck tilted down and forward. 

Help kids alleviate text neck symptoms by propping the phone or tablet up on a table or otherwise at eye level. Encouraging occasional stretching can also help recorrect the spine if they are inching toward a slouching posture.

4. Get Involved With Sports

Staying active is one of the best ways to spend time outside the classroom. While texting or playing video games with friends can be fun in moderation, encourage your child to participate in a sport or some kind of physical activity. This can help them strengthen their muscles, support back health and reduce their time hunched over electronic devices.

For More Tips, Schedule an Appointment at NYSI

The New York Spine Institute team is passionate about helping kids and adults create and maintain proper posture. If you or your child has been experiencing back pain, reach out to us today!