Proper sitting Posture for Kids

School has been back in session for about a month now.  Hopefully, you and your young pupils have figured out how to navigate through some form of hybrid or 100% virtual schooling by now.  If your kids are anything like mine, you have most likely been fielding a number of complaints in an effort to not do their school work.  Internet troubles, log on issues, cell phone distractions, computer trouble, zoom meeting difficulties, lack of seeing their friends, social media distractions, and difficulty understanding the course work can all lead to a continuous onslaught of excuses as to why they can’t do school.  Recently, we have begun to hear calls for new desks and chairs because our darling student’s little posteriors are getting sore.

Unfortunately, for my kids their parents are PTs so they get a lecture on proper sitting posture instead of a trip to staples.  Which got me thinking about our next blog post on Proper sitting posture for kids.  Hopefully, you too can dump some knowledge on your kids and at least get rid of one excuse by following these tips!

90-90-90 Sitting Posture

Just like adults, proper sitting posture in children is just as important as they may develop various postural issues over the years. We have heard that 90-90-90 sitting posture, where your ankles, knees and hips are supposed to be at 90 degrees, is the optimal sitting posture for adults, but does the same apply to children? The answer is yes!

  • Their feet should rest flat with a 90 degree angle at their ankles
  • Their knees should be bent at a 90 degree angle and about 1-2 inches away from the seat of the chair
  • Their hips should be at the back of their chair and positioned at a 90 degree angle

If honor roll student can’t reach the floor try putting a book under their feet.  If the chair is too low for them compared to the desk try giving them a pillow to sit on to better position them into that 90-90-90 position.

Postural Tips for Writing

Another thing to be mindful off when setting up your child’s desk is the position they are going to be writing in and how their notebooks are angled. According to the here are some tips when it comes to positioning:

  • Their paper should be stabilized with their non-dominant hand
  • Their arm and wrist should be resting on the table
  • Their paper should be tilted up to the right if they are right handed and to the left if they are left handed
  • Their paper should be angled between 30-45 degrees for left handed writers and between 20-45 degrees for right handed writers.

Computer Monitor Position

Now that your little learner is sitting correctly let’s talk about where that monitor needs to be.  Ideally, the monitor should be about an arm’s length away from their head and at eye level. Have them hold their open palm horizontally across their eyes and then extend their arm forward ‘on a plain’ in front of them until their elbow is extended fully.  The tips of their fingers should just be scraping the monitor.  To ensure the monitor is at eye level their fingertips should be scraping the monitor about 2-3 inches below the  top  of the monitor.  If not adjust the monitor accordingly.

If they are using a laptop or tablet device to perform their homework consider purchasing a mouse and keyboard.  This way you can position the laptop/device on a box or a bunch of books to properly accommodate proper monitor height without sacrificing their ability to type or navigate their work.

It is understandable that kids are kids and having them sit still in proper position for prolonged periods of time, might be difficult to say the least. Therefore, the major takeaway here is to make sure that they are not slouching or hunching over while doing their school work as that could set them up for permanent deformities in their spine and posture.

If you are noticing that despite your best efforts, your kids are complaining of back or neck pain give us a call!  Even before kids were primarily doing their school work from home we were successfully treating students with either neck or back pain before this pandemic was a thing.  With Direct Access in NJ we can get your child in for an evaluation without you having to see your Doctor, probably quicker than you could get that appointment, while also saving you both time and money!  

Please, call us to schedule your student’s evaluation at one of BeneFIT’s locations, Bridgewater (908.203.5200) or Chester (908.879.5700)  with one of our highly trained Doctors of Physical Therapy!