What Parents And Educators Should Know About Childrens Ergonomics
Kids are amazing. Gifted with boundless energy and seemingly super human powers of recovery, it's easy for forget that they need to be protected while they work and study. Even for younger children, ergonomics are crucial for them to get the best out of their learning, develop healthy habits, and to encourage kids to look after their posture.
Why Is Children's Ergonomics Important?
From a young age, we encourage our kids to sit down to study, with a book or in front of a computer screen. And during the pandemic, with many switching to homeschooling or hybrid learning, this was often at the dining room table - or any other repurposed desk space.
However, for your child to maintain good posture, they need a little help. A dedicated space with ergonomically sound furniture is super important. If they are going to be seated for much of the day, ergonomic sitting is crucial, both for the child's immediate well being, and to teach children good postural habits they can carry into the future.
Multiple studies have shown that the prevalence of back pain in 9 and 10 years old kids is around a third, with as many as half of all 15 years olds surveyed reporting having suffered back pain in the last year.
Coupled with the rising prevalence of wrist pain in young people, you're probably staring to see see why children's ergonomics is so important.
Ergonomic Seating For Children
The best place to start to develop and maintain proper posture is the chair. Learning good habits now can help them stop developing poor posture in the future - so teaching your child how to sit in an ergonomic position at an early age makes sense.
Most children have a tendency to slouch, or just sit in a kind of odd way! And although you will not be able to prevent this all the time, teaching them the right principles, and providing them with ergonomic furniture, will be a big help.
Just like adults, kids should subscribe to the 90/90/90 rule. What's that, you say? Tut tut.
The first 90 degree angle is between the back and thighs. Sit with back straight, upright, with a 90 degree angle formed between these two parts of your body.
With your thighs flat on the seat, your knees should bent so your lower legs are at a 90 degree angle to your upper legs.
Place your feet flat on the floor, forming a 90 degree angle with your shins.
To achieve this position, clearly you will need a chair that allows height and back adjustment, so allow you to find the best position for your kid. It's important to remember that adults ergonomic chairs will not be appropriate as they are simply too big. Luckily, most good quality kids chairs will allow for this.
Ergonomic Desks And Furniture For Kids
Now you have the chair all set up, you need to find the right kids study desk - and once you've done that, the best position for your child to sit at the desk. It's important to do your research, and to find the furniture that best suits your kid (or kids).
Ergonomic Desks For Kids
There are a range of desks out there for kids, and making a choice can be a little intimidating. Below we've listed a few key points to look out for.
Kids are growing all the time, so finding a desk that grows with your child is a great way of ensuring they can maintain good posture as they grow. The Desky Students Desk is great for younger children, with an adjustable height range of 58-80cm.
For taller or older kids, a smaller sit stand desk can provide them the room to grow, and help them develop a less sedentary work style. Moving into adult life, this could be invaluable, teaching them good ergonomics and the value of changing up and not sitting in the same position all day. The Desky Dual Kids Sit Stand Desk is a high quality and affordable choice.
Ergonomic Chairs For Kids
As we explained above, considering the amount of time sitting most kids experience, a good chair is an absolute must. Many parents and teachers struggle to know what to look for, so here's some ideas.
A dedicated student chair will give a full range of adjustable features, good padding, and be robust enough to take a good few knocks. It will also need the maximum height range for growing kids. Desky's Pro Adjustable Student Chair has everything you need.
It's important that the chair and desk you choose are compatible with one another. If you're not sure, buying as a pair, as with this Adjustable Kids Desk and Chair ensures the two piece will work well together.
Computers And Children's Ergonomics
Like it or not, it's almost nailed on that at some point your kids will be learning on a computer or device. As useful as these devices are, they can be a ticking time bomb in terms of ergonomic sitting. But fear not: combined with the advise above, the points below should show that ergonomic computing is totally possible.
The Right Machine
Mostly, your kid will be learning on a desktop, a laptop, or a tablet. But which to choose? Desktop's have certain big advantages in an ergonomic sense, as the separate monitor and the ability to use monitor risers or arms allows you to easily find the most ergonomically sound position. They are though, admittedly, difficult to take into school.
Which is where laptops and tablets come in. Tablets are pretty difficult to use ergonomically, so we would generally discourage frequent use. Laptops are just as portable, can be amounted on risers or stands, and hooked up to additional monitors and peripherals when being used at home.
Which brings us to accessories. If your kid is using a laptop, it's a good idea to provide an external mouse and keyboard, so you can help them work in the most ergonomic position. A laptop riser can be used then to bring the screen to eye level, or an additional monitor added for the same effect.
Consider Screen Time
Blue light affects all of us, but kids are especially sensitive. Blue light can affect sleeping patterns, cause eye strain, and even cause lasting damage to developing eyes. That's why monitoring and limiting your kids screen time is so important.
We hope this article has helped you to understand the importance of ergonomics for kids. With a little attention and the right gear, you can easily set your kid up for a future free from pain and postural issues, and help them learn into the bargain!