It’s that time of year again! Kids are getting ready to go back to school, stores are selling out of supplies and buses are fueling up!
Are you wondering how to send your child back ready for the year ahead?
Here are some tips on how to maintain good health and prevent postural strain and injury during the school year.
- When choosing a backpack look for one with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back. This can prevent decreased circulation that can result in numbness and tingling and also prevent direct pressure on the back.
- Pack light! Utilize all compartments to disperse weight as evenly as possibly. Be sure the heavier items are placed closest to the center of the back. The backpack should never exceed 10-15% of your child’s body weight.
- If you child has block scheduling consider a binder for each day so that unnecessary school supplies do not need to be carried daily.
- Periodically go through the backpack cleaning out unnecessary items that may accumulate over time.
- Use both shoulder straps, muscle strain can occur when slinging the back pack over one shoulder.
- Ensure proper backpack fitting, the backpack should not sit too high or too low the bottom of the pack should sit at the waist. The heaviest part of the backpack should be at the child’s center of gravity.
- Use both hands and knees to lift the backpack from the ground.
- If your school allows, consider a rolling backpack. This type of backpack may be a good choice for students who must tote a heavy load. Remember that rolling backpacks still must be carried up stairs, they may be difficult to roll in snow, and they may not fit in some lockers
Developing Good Study Habits
- Create an environment conducive to learning and doing homework. A consistent work space that is quiet, without distraction and promotes studying.
- Limit cellphone, tablet, television and computer use daily.
- Take periodic breaks from reading and bright screens to reduce eye strain, brain and neck fatigue. During these breaks stand up, stretch and look at something far away for a few minutes. While working keep your eyes level with the monitor or book to avoid looking down or up for prolonged periods.
- Establish a good sleep routine. Insufficient sleep is associated with lower academic achievement in middle school, high school and college, as well as higher rates of absenteeism and tardiness. The optimal amount of sleep for most adolescents (13 to 18 years of age) is in the range of 8 to 10 hours per night.
- Learn and live by the 90x90x90 posture rule while focusing on rolling your shoulders down and back, pulling your elbows back toward your back pants pockets (this presses your scapula up against your ribs, as though you were using them to push your heart up and out) and slightly tucking your chin.
- Avoid crossing legs or sitting on one hip rather than the other.
- Use your back rest, do not rest your weight on your elbow and chin.
Eating During the School Day
- Children who eat a nutritious breakfast function better. They excel in academic excellence and have better concentration and more energy.
- Look into what is offered inside and outside of the cafeteria. All foods sold during the school day must meet nutrition standards established by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Healthy choices such as fresh fruit, low-fat dairy products, water, and 100% fruit juice should be available. Learn about your child’s school wellness policy and get involved in school groups to put it into effect. While packing a healthy lunch is the easiest, most consistent way to ensure your child is receiving proper nutrition being familiar with the school’s options is good for those days when you’re in a rush!
- Each 12-ounce soft drink contains approximately 10 teaspoons of sugar and 150 calories. Drinking just one can of soda a day increases a child’s risk of obesity by 60%. Choose healthier options, such as water and appropriately sized juice and low-fat dairy products, to send in your child’s lunch.
- Hydration throughout the day is important for brain, muscle and body function as well as energy and focus. Consider sending your child with a reusable water bottle daily to have water available at all times of the day.
Further Prevention and Treatment Considerations
- Stretches and movements that open the muscles in the front of your body such as your chest and hips.
- Exercises for the backside of your upper-body such as a seated row or scapular retractions and supermans.
- Learn to do wall angles
- Move! Don’t stay seated for prolonged periods of time. Get out and walk, run or play at recess or after school.
- Stand on both feet! Don’t favor resting on one hip while standing.
- Have someone take a photo. From this you can evaluate your posture and have photos of correct posture to remind you to work on improving yours. Using a timer for every 20-30 minutes to remind yourself to re-assess your posture can be helpful.
- See a professional, such as a chiropractor or physical therapist to evaluate your posture and determine a treatment plan personalized for your specific needs.
- Consider postural taping by a professional.
If you have any questions regarding how to prevent postural strain and maintain good health during the school year, feel free to reach out to Dr. Reilly at firstname.lastname@example.org or call for an appointment today (703)-760-8110!