I’m going to wager most people don’t think about posture today. Though our grandparents reminded us to “sit up straight”, modern parents don’t seem to do much reminding at all.
If you’re in a public place right now, stop for a second and look around you. Notice how people stand and sit, and watch how they walk down the street or stand in line at the checkout.
Do people look “normal” to you?
I assert most people don’t know what good alignment looks like. Slouching, sway back, head forward and rounded shoulders are just a few of the ways people look, yet most of us don’t notice how wrong that really is. The problem with everyone doing the same thing, is that most don’t realize there’s something to correct.
In a world of online schooling, working from home and using devices for most everything, I say it’s time people pay attention to how they walk, sit, stand and sleep. More importantly, parents need to teach this to their children. For if they don’t, the natural alignment children are born with can quickly be lost. And proper alignment takes time to (sometimes painfully) restore, if it can be restored at all.
Why not prevent distortion and teach our kids to move and and behave in ways that keep alignment intact throughout their lives?
I am not a medical doctor, but being out of alignment has affected me personally, forcing me to study it. I tried to pass what I learned on to my kids, who were homeschooled and with me 24/7. But, I feel this should also be taught in schools, since it’s something that should be modeled and taught. Our natural-born structures have been distorted to the point that many people find this distortion quite normal today. By adults putting attention on the matter both in schools and at home, our children can turn this around, benefiting themselves and future generations.
What I recommend, and has worked in our family, is paying attention to things like:
- Computers: Type (PC versus laptop or tablet) and placement, including where to put the keyboard, the height of the screen, using an extra screen, and where to put the mouse
- Desks: Choosing the right one, whether standing or sitting or both, and making sure the desk works for the height of the person using it…small children should not be using adult furniture
- Chairs: Type and height, including whether chairs have arms, are adjustable, have upper back support, lean backwards or lock, and offer lumbar support
- Schedules: Like sitting for long periods of time without breaks or without moving around in ones chair
- Stretching and Exercise: Particularly muscle groups affected by computer use, looking down at devices, and using laptops in the funny places our kids sometimes like to study
- Pillows: Watching how many are used, their size, material, and firmness
- Mattresses: Making sure they’re the right size, even if extra-long, and they work for the person’s body types or medical need
- Shoes: Footwear, like arch support or orthodic inserts, and avoiding flip flops or other harmful styles
- Walking: Noticing where the weight goes and how the foot strikes the pavement, and especially paying attention to kids who walk on their toes or otherwise differently
I also monitor the posture of my children by having them stand back against a wall, shoulders squared, with chins tucked in. I show them exercises to release tightness in certain areas and explain things they can do to remain properly aligned. I also believe in chiropractic adjustments for periodic monitoring or correction. And while I advise using Youtube with discretion (and at your own risk), there are hundreds of videos to help in this area, too.
Books can explain this much better than I can. I love and highly recommend this book by Esther Gokhale (aff):
And this pillow which is referenced in the book, and which I use myself (aff):
As for desks and computer placement, start looking for information about health and ergonomics. You can start with the OSHA recommendations which are very easy to follow:
OSHA Computer Workstation Recommendations (new window)
Lastly, when shopping for products, don’t shop for comfort, but for products that maintain good spinal alignment. Start with your health first, then find ways to be comfortable using furniture that is kind to your body.
There is much more to this topic, but I just wanted to raise awareness. If you have specific tips or products you’d care to share with readers, I’d love for you to put them in the COMMENTS so we can all learn from one another.
To your health,
Dr. Marie-Claire Moreau is a college professor who traded in her tenure to become a homeschool mom 20+ years ago. A homeschooling pioneer and the founder of many groups and organizations, she works to advance home education, and is an outspoken supporter of education reform coast to coast. Her book, Suddenly Homeschooling: A Quick Start Guide to Legally Homeschool in Two Weeks, is industry-acclaimed as it illustrates how homeschooling can rescue children and families from the public school system, and how anyone can begin homeschooling within a limited time-frame, with no teaching background whatsoever. A writer, a homeschool leader, and a women’s life coach, Marie-Claire mentors in a variety of areas that impact health, education and lifestyle. A conference speaker, she has appeared at FPEA, H.E.R.I., Home Education Council of America, The Luminous Mind, Vintage Homeschool Moms, iHomeschool Network, and many other events. Her articles have appeared in and on Holistic Parenting, CONNECT,Homefires, Homemaking Cottage, Kiwi, Circle of Moms, and hundreds of sites and blogs nationwide. Marie-Claire can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.