Workplace ergonomics is just as important for children as it is for adults. With more time being spent in front of a computer or tablet, it’s a good time to make sure your kid’s workspace is set up ideally for them. This will allow them to sit comfortably for extended periods of time while they learn at school and at home while they work on homework.
Workplace ergonomics attempt to reduce strain, fatigue, and injuries by properly positioning your chair, keyboard, and monitor. For kids, it can be difficult to create an ideal workplace for them, especially if they are working off of a chair or desk that is not built for children. If your child is going to be doing online school, it would be beneficial to invest in a child-sized desk and chair. However, there are ways to accommodate if they will only be sitting for a little bit while they work on homework or if right now is not a good time to invest in a desk and chair.
You want their knees to be at about a 90-degree angle and they should be able to have their feet touching the ground. If the chair is too tall for your child, you could use a small stool, a box, or even a stack of books to promote that position. With this adjustment, their knees will be bent and feet flat. You also want to ensure that their bottom is scooted all the way back on the seat to avoid sacral sitting. If the chair you are using does not already have built-in back support, you could use a rolled up towel and place it in the low of the back to promote a more neutral spine and prevent slouching. Their arms should have somewhere to rest while they are typing or writing, and should roughly create a 90-degree angle at their elbows; you may have to play with the height of the chair or the monitor/tablet to create that. You also want to make sure if they are typing or using a mouse that their wrists are neutral and they don’t have to bend at their wrist to reach the keyboard or mouse. Lastly, when using a computer, their monitor should be raised slightly to eye level so they don’t have to move their head and they are able to move just their eyes to view their screens. If your child will be in person for school, talk with their teacher to see which of these adjustment modifications would be ideal to prevent distractions in class.
It is also important that kids take breaks away from sitting for long periods of time, to avoid falling into poor sitting posture habits. It is also a good idea during their breaks to do some stretching of the front of the chest, as that area tends to become tight when sitting for a long time as well as their neck, back, shoulders, and hips. Have your kiddo take a break every 20 minutes and get up, do some stretches, and get a little physical activity in. This will not only help the body, but keep the mind ready to learn! Remember, stretching should never be painful and each pose only needs to be held for about 30 seconds 2-3 times per break. Try these 2 stretches:
Call us at TEAM 4 Kids if you have any questions or if your kiddo complains of pain after doing homework for long periods of time. Happy learning!