You may be asking yourself the question “why does my kid sit like that?” frequently enough to drive yourself crazy. As kids are growing, they are experimenting with their posture muscles, may be having growing pains, or are just sometimes tired after a long day. As adults may want to put their feet up on the couch after a long day, kids may just want to slouch in their chair when they get home from school. Below are some common postural bad habits of children and how to correct them.
How Backpacks Affect Poor Posture:
Teenagers are the best at showing poor posture. Between backpacks that weigh 20 plus pounds and fatigue from growth spurts, you may notice their posture ‘slacking.’ To help combat scoliosis, make sure that your child wears his backpack with both shoulder straps that should fit snuggly on the lower back. According to the American Occupational Therapy Association, a backpack should weigh no more then 15% of the child’s body weight. For example, a child weighing 100 pounds should not wear a backpack weighing more then 15 pounds. Also, consider a roller-bag if your teen’s chemistry books are literally weighing him down.
The Best Position For Your Child To Sit In:
With children who are able to sit at the table, make sure that their feet are on the floor with their hips and knees at 90 degree angles. Many children’s chairs are adjustable for this reason. This will make sure that there is no unnecessary pressure on their lower back and leg joints. If needed, use a stool under their feet to reach that 90 degree position.
The Affects Of W-Sitting:
W-sitting is a common way to sit for kids with low muscle tone and/or low core strength. Instead of their legs crossed in front of them, kids with low tone or low core strength will sit with their legs splayed out to the side. W-sitting is a way for kids to widen their base of support so they feel more stable when sitting and reaching for toys. However, W-sitting can cause strain on the hips, knees and ankles and can also lead to in-toeing. Many children are able to correct the w-sitting habit with just a reminder to sit “pretzel” sitting or “criss-cross applesauce”.
Please refer to my backpack blog for more information on how to properly fit and wear a backpack. If your child w-sits and you have concerns about their muscle tone or core strength, please contact a physical therapist at North Shore Pediatric Therapy.