How to Encourage Proper Posture in Children

proper posture

As we observe World Pediatric Bone and Joint Day (Oct 19), we highlight the importance of a child’s musculoskeletal health. We want our children to grow up strong and be able to take on the world. But with back, neck, and shoulder pain on the rise, they could face problems later in life. To mark this event, we are raising awareness about how to ensure children maintain proper posture to support their growing bodies.

Encouraging proper stance in children is hard — particularly when so much of their lives revolve around electronics like computers, television, and mobile touch devices. They’re growing up in a digital world that’s not conducive to maintaining good posture. This article details things you need to know about good body form and steps you can take to help your child maintain good spinal health as they grow into adulthood.


What Is Proper Posture? 

Posture is your body’s position when standing, sitting, or lying down. It may be natural and unconscious for some people, but others must work on it by practicing good habits.

A correct stance is a position that puts the least amount of stress on the joints, bones, and muscles. This form allows for maximum efficiency and effectiveness of movement and reduces the risk of injury or pain.

A straight, healthy body form is important for your physical health and can positively affect how you feel about yourself. With a healthy posture, your muscles work well together, making them stronger and healthier. When someone is in proper body positioning, they stand straight with their head up, shoulders back, and chest out.


The Importance of Good Posture

Maintaining good posture is crucial for achieving good health and functioning better daily.  It will help them to develop strong muscles, bones, and joints. Moreover, proper standing or sitting position helps to keep a healthy spine and improves breathing, circulation, and digestion. Lastly, it contributes significantly to emotional well-being, increasing confidence and self-esteem.

However, many children spend much time hunched over or slouching at school or home. If your child does not have good posture, this can lead to muscle imbalances in the body. They can suffer back pain and spinal stenosis later in life to more immediate issues like headaches and fatigue. 

Research shows that bad posture can lead to:

  • headaches
  • back and neck pain
  • sore shoulders
  • muscle aches
  • pain in the joints
  • irritation along nerves
  • decreased lung capacity
  • poor blood circulation to the brain and heart

Over time, these problems may be permanent if not corrected early. 


What Causes Bad Posture

By becoming aware of these potential causes, you can help prevent your child from developing poor posture habits that could lead to lifelong problems (something we’ll discuss more below).

There are several causes of bad sitting and standing positions in children. Some of the most common reasons include the following:


Poor habits

The leading cause of poor posture in children is bad habits, such as slouching while sitting or standing. For example, if your child has spent too much time playing video games or using their phone, they may develop a “text neck,” which causes long-term damage to their spine and shoulders.

Some may need help understanding the importance of sitting correctly while at their desk or watching TV. They may also have bad sitting habits because they have grown up in a household without space, and the furniture is uncomfortable.

Moreover, an incorrect sleeping form can also lead to posture problems. If your child sleeps on their stomach or with their head turned sideways, this can cause misalignment of the spinal cord and muscles, leading to improper stance.


Overweight or obesity 

Overweight children often have poor posture due to extra weight on their spine, which makes it difficult for them to stand upright without slouching forward or leaning backward.


Emotional stress or anxiety

Children who are constantly stressed or anxious may have tense muscles and joints. It can cause your child to clench their back muscles, slouch their shoulder, and tuck their chin forward. This movement makes it difficult to hold their bodies in good alignment when standing or sitting.


Developmental delays

Children with developmental delays may not have mastered basic skills like crawling, walking, or talking with enough strength to maintain the right posture. They may also have poor motor skills and poor balance and coordination, which can lead to sitting and standing problems as they develop physically.  

One example is a child with Down syndrome. They may have low muscle tone, which makes holding up their head difficult; this results in a forward-leaning posture.


Genetics or Health Conditions

Some health conditions diagnosed at birth or during childhood can also cause poor form in children by affecting their muscles, bones, or joints. 

Rickets: vitamin D deficiency causes rickets. This disease affects the bones and makes them weaker than usual. Children with rickets may have curved spines or legs that bow outward instead of straightening out as they grow older. 

Scoliosis: another disease that causes spinal curvature, which can affect the way they stand or sit when it occurs in early childhood. 

Hip dysplasia: when your child’s hip joints don’t develop properly, it can cause poor posture and gait. This condition causes abnormal movement and muscle weakness around the hip joint.

Health conditions that affect the nervous system: cerebral palsy and spina bifida can cause abnormal muscle tone and posture problems. Children with cerebral palsy often have difficulty moving their arms and hands and controlling their muscles. This condition leads to poor coordination and balance, which can affect how they sit or stand.

Clubfoot:  a condition in which one or both feet are turned inward at birth. It can cause difficulty walking, poor balance, and posture, especially in the first year of life. 

Infections and injuries: An injury that affects the spine, such as a fracture or sprain, can cause a poor or incorrect stance in a child. Diseases like polio and meningitis may also cause postural abnormalities.


10 Best Ways to Maintain Healthy Posture in Children

Below are ten ways how to fix bad posture and how to help your child improve their posture: 


1. Teach your child what proper posture is

Sit down with your child and explain why maintaining a healthy posture is important. Give them specific instructions or demonstrate proper posture when writing, using gadgets, reading, standing, or sitting. You can also put reminders around the house that encourage body positioning, like posters or stickers on doors or mirrors. 

Keep in mind the following things: 

  • The child must sit straight with shoulders back and down, chest high, head up, and eyes forward (looking straight ahead). The ears should be over the shoulders, not pulled back behind them.
  • Encourage your child to stand up straight, with their shoulders back and head held high.
  • They should keep their feet flat on the floor and not cross their legs or ankles.
  • Children should avoid leaning forward while working on a computer or reading.


2. Use a mirror to teach them

One good way on how to correct posture is by using a mirror. Children may find it difficult to see what their body looks like when they stand up straight, so the best way for them to figure it out is by seeing their reflection and having someone else point out what’s wrong with their form and how they can fix it.


3. Set an example

Set an example for good posture by modeling it yourself. Your child will pay more attention if they see that you care about having proper form too. If you are standing up straight, it will be easier for them to mimic your actions than if you slouch over or slump down when you sit down. 


4. Use positive reinforcement

Remind them to sit straight, with their feet on the floor, while watching TV or playing video games. If you catch your child slouching and scold them to sit up straight, they may start slouching out of habit when you’re not looking. Instead, reward right posture with praise — “I like how straight your back is!” — or even a small reward such as a sticker or special dessert after dinner. 


6. Regular exercise

Make sure that your child gets regular exercise. Physical activities will help to strengthen their muscles, which will help with correct form. Get them into an active lifestyle, such as swimming, where they must keep their body upright for long periods without slouching or leaning forward. These will be an active lifestyle rather than a sedentary one.


7. Choose the right furniture or use ergonomic products

Having the right furniture is one step in fixing bad posture. Many children have difficulty maintaining good form because they don’t have furniture that allows them to do it. Here are some suggestions: 

Standing desks: They provide a greater range of movement and a more active lifestyle, which is essential for maintaining good form.

Adjustable chairs: Make sure your child has the correct size chair for their body size. Another option is an adjustable chair that allows your child to adjust the height of their seat so they can rest their feet flat on the floor at all times.

Wrist supports: Keep wrists in a neutral position, which helps prevent wrist pain or injuries. These supports are especially important for children who type all day long when using computers or tablets.

Posture correctors: Use them to keep their spine and shoulder in the right position to slouch.

Right bed size: They should sleep comfortably without tossing and turning all night long because they are uncomfortable or cramped up in their own space! 

The proper size of shoes: When possible, have them wear the right shoe size with good support and arch support. It will ensure their feet don’t bear too much weight on them all day.


8. Take breaks 

Encourage your child to take breaks from standing and sitting throughout the day. While on break, encourage them to do some stretching. Stretching helps improve flexibility and circulation throughout the body, which helps support a good stance for long periods without fatigue or stress on your muscles and joints.


9. Limit gadget use

Ensure you only allow your child to use electronic devices for up to 30 minutes to an hour daily. This step will help ensure that they keep good posture since they aren’t being sedentary for extended periods, which can lead to bad posture habits later on down the road!


10. Keep up with well-child visits

Take them for regular checkups with a medical professional who can keep an eye on their progress as they grow older and ensure they’re developing properly.


Correct Bad Posture Now for a Healthy Future!

Good posture is a habit that can be formed at a young age and can help prevent future back pain, muscle strain, and joint problems. Now that you know how it affects your child’s health and how to help them maintain a healthy stance, you can start incorporating these tips into your daily routine. Remember that your child might need some time to adjust to new habits and routines but the sooner you start, the better!

At Children’s Medical Centers Fresno, we provide families with a high level of comfort, compassion, and convenience in pediatric care in Fresno California. Whenever you are searching for “pediatricians near me” for quality health care for your children, please do not hesitate to contact our pediatric clinic! Get to know more about our healthcare team today.

To learn more about parenting tips, check out our pediatric blog. Don’t hesitate to contact Children’s Medical Centers Fresno (CMC Fresno) at (559) 455-1500 have questions or concerns about your child’s posture. Alternatively, you can schedule an appointment online.