Surely you have been told this at one point in your life.
Did it help you? In all probability, it didn’t and you didn’t like to be told that either.
So, what can you do so that your children really get it?
Telling things like ‘sit up straight’ or ‘don’t slouch’ mean a lot of things and yet nothing at all. It feels disciplinary and makes you feel bad. We need to start thinking of posture as education and not discipline. We also need to introduce it on a daily basis, from an early age and include the What, Why and How of posture:
What is good posture?
Why do they need it?
How do they do it?
Isn’t it what we do when it comes to introducing teeth brushing?
We start early enough, we explain what it is, why it is important and we teach how to do it.
On top of that, we are also the example (we show them we brush the teeth too) and we do it day in, day out until it becomes natural and a habit. When it comes to posture education, it isn’t any different.
Here are 7 ways to introduce good postural habits to children:
Start it as early as possible, ideally when they sit on a chair for the first time.
Avoid chairs for as long as possible – toddlers prefer sitting on the floor; encourage that for as long as you can.
Encourage them to do more of what they do at home standing (they already sit a lot in school).
At the dinner table, make the right conditions for your child to maintain good posture e.g. are they sitting so low that they can’t reach the table properly? You can easily fix this with cushions. Their feet should too be flat and grounded on something.
When they play with your mobile phone, teach them to bring the phone up in the direction of the eyes and not to drop the head towards the device.
With any e-device and television, restrict the amount of time they use it for – the human body isn’t designed to sit down for too long. Encourage movement.
Be the example; children are more likely to do what you do than what you say. Learn how posture works so that you can teach yourself and your children with confidence.
As a final note, the key element of posture education is to start as early as possible because let’s face it, if you introduce it when your child is already a teen, it is likely they won’t go along with it.
I come to schools to teach teachers and parents on how to introduce posture education in a non-disciplinary way. I also run workshops in Kent and London. Check my website and sign up to my mailing list if you want to be notified of my events.