As you do your parent thing – getting your kids ready for school, making meals for them, driving them to activities, checking their homework – I’m betting there’s something important that’s NOT on your to-do list: “pediatric ergonomics.” Here is why it’s so important:
Every activity your kids do affects their body-mind connection, AND their body-mind connection affects every activity they do.
It’s about making sure your child’s health and wellbeing are part of your back-to-school preparation. The brain-body connection means not just the spine, but the organs and muscles which all work together for your child to function optimally and grow developmentally as they’re meant to do!
Do you have a kindergartner who’s starting first grade, or a child going from elementary school to middle school? A LOT of changes are going to happen for them, right? Probably a greater homework load, and they’ll be shifting from more playtime to more study time.
What can you do to support your child ergonomically so they can focus on their studies and activities, not on neck and back pain? For example:
- Do they have the right desk and chair arrangement to help them keep good posture and alignment?
- When they’re sitting studying for hours, do they take regular breaks? Do they need a break-time activity that will keep them active?
Will your child be starting an after-school program? Maybe soccer, running, dance, theater, where they’ll be working new muscles or using their body in a different way than before.
How can you make sure the activity fits into your child’s life so they can continue doing it without hurting themselves?
Just last week I did a violin “ergonomic assessment” with a current patient – a cute little 8-year-old with a tiny violin. His father had brought him and his violin in for an adjustment. We made a video of the boy playing (with his permission of course). I saw that as he held the violin, turning his head to the side as he was supposed to, he tended to lean his neck forward (like a pigeon) to reach the chin rest. So, I suggested some simple exercises he could do after playing each time, which would make the opposite neck motion in order realign his neck.
Consult with their trainers, coaches, specialists to know how to support your child. You have parent-teacher conferences – why not parent-coach/lessons/specialist conferences? You may not be an expert at the best way for your kid to sit at the piano, or warm up before gymnastics, or what the best eating habits are for your runner.
These are things your pros should know, and can show you how to help your child adapt and avoid injury or spine subluxations. You get to co-manage with your kid’s network of trainers!
As your child takes on new activities and adventures and throughout the schools year, I encourage you to be a super sleuth. Pay attention to the things I’m talking about here, and how they are showing up for your child.
Developing good habits now will serve them all their life!