Scoliosis Therapy Centers


What Mark is Your Child Getting on Their Posture Report Card?

ByVivian McNeil


“You can play outside for about an hour till supper is ready,” says, a typical Gen-x mom.“I’m in the middle of a game on my phone”, answers the typical Gen-x kid. What’s a caring mom to do? This is a major problem these days. What happened to healthy outdoor play of yesterday?

It’s true that some families are missing back and front yard space for the kids to cavort. Hey, that was true in the olden days as well. If you are of Medicare age, and as a kid, lived in the tough urban areas, then you will remember those stick ball and stoop ball games outside in front of your house. Even if you are fortunate and there are rolling hills and thick lush grass where you live, today’s kids are reluctant to play outside as much as kids used to years ago. The recent phenomena, called the smart phone, has taken kids from the streets and parks to the couch and bed. It would be better to allow your child access to the TV, internet and phone, only after they have done some sport or other activity. Kids sit so much during school it would be a pity to allow more inactivity at home. Remember to join them too if you have time. You may tell me that there are great iPhone exercise programs and smartwatches available to see how much activity is recorded, but I must warn you this is not the answer for our precious children and teens physical health.

As a kid, did you ever get a poke in the back from your mom? Kind of annoying, no? What about the well-intentioned dad, whose own father was a sergeant in the United States Army? This dad is used to being called to “attention” almost every day as a teen by his father. If he slouched in front of his father, he would be called to action immediately. We knew back then that there was some truth to our parent’s criticism of our posture.

Is the poke by the well-intentioned mom or the call to attention by the well-meaning dad effective ways of getting your child to stand up straight? It could be that if there is a close and respectful relationship between parent and child, these reminders could work as signals for the child to change his or her standing position for the better. However, in most cases, these reminders can trigger resentment in the child. “What else am I doing wrong today? Mom or Dad don’t even like the way I stand”. There may be easier and more pleasant ways to make your slouching child stand erect. Let’s investigate further.

What’s causing your child not to stand straight?

From an emotional aspect, the child’s posture can speak volumes. How well is the child dealing with stress at home and at school? Does the child have friends or does the child’s level of self-esteem need a boost? There is something called the “self-validation theory”. This is what happens when the child will adopt a posture based on how he or she is feeling emotionally. For example, standing up tall with shoulders back is a confident posture. Slouching, on the other hand, can be demonstrating either a lack of confidence or a dislike of the fact that the child is taller than the rest of his or her peers, and will stoop in order to make themselves the same height as those around them. Both stances can show others how we are feeling in body language without verbal communication.

Is your child’s posture grade a S or a C?

In the case of correct posture, the C would be could do better in posture mark and S is for a satisfactory posture. The spine should naturally be making an S curve beginning at the base of the neck and ending at the lower back. The C curve is distinctive to those people who have a slouched posture. Their shoulders are forward, and their abdominal muscles have almost no contraction (in order to walk properly, physical therapists stress the importance of holding your stomach muscles in while walking). Regrettably, because of today’s sedentary lifestyles, the C curve has become more and more common.

Let’s examine two types of careers

A fashion model on the runway, will have an S curve posture. A model must walk with ease while looking at the audience. This makes her look more elegant and thinner instantly. Looking straight ahead while walking and even making brief eye contact gives these models a posture that looks perfect. C curve employees who sit at a desk and in front of a computer are slouchers. Although you may think of slouching as being more relaxed, the muscles are working harder and snatching energy from the body in the process. Breathing deeply and fully is so much harder when one is not standing up straight and reduces energy levels. The pressure that is placed on the back due to poor posture can lead to such conditions as pinched nerves, less flexibility, stiffness and even numbness in extremities. So, we see, that strong posture promotes a healthy lifestyle.

Often a girl, who is entering puberty and developing will feel shy about her new figure and try to hide it. As her mother, be extremely careful to wear modest clothing at this sensitive stage, and when you take your daughter shopping do not push her to buy anything that has the tainting of exhibitionism. We are looking for a middle of the road philosophy. When walking, don’t keep the head up or down, just look straight ahead. Showing your daughter that life is deeper than just showing some skin, will make her into a better and straighter human being.

Children with a spinal curve of less than ten degrees

Your child may have a curve that measure less than ten degrees, which medically would not require intervention. Is your child home scot free? Absolutely not, sometimes a slight bending can be a sign of lack of self-confidence or merely a bad habit. Humbleness is an attribute to be admired but monitor your child if it is affecting his or her posture. If a boy or girl is taller than the rest of his or her class, they may not want to stand out. Check to see if you or your husband are straight standers. Children imitate their parents subconsciously.

If you see that your child has the beginnings of a slump, you should check out a way that you will be a good standing example for your child. Positive reinforcement is always the key. On the day that your child is standing tall and straight is the time to compliment them. When you walk together with your child, be an example of a positive walker, try to avoid “sleep walking” (walking as if you are ready to go to sleep). Both of you should be able to move, whether it’s walking, standing, or sitting, with comfort.

Five ideas that the entire family can work on together, making good posture fun and rewarding

1) Whole Body Walking: Walk with ease. How you move is who you are. By your example, your child will learn the importance of walking with awareness. Try practicing a graceful and long stride; walk with your entire body. You should feel the different parts of the body working together (your hamstrings muscles, your tummy muscles and the muscles of your butt). Now start taking longer strides (like the models do). If you are noticing your different muscles working, then you are using them correctly. Your child will be learning gestures and suppleness from you.

2) If You Look Down You Fall Down: Old fashioned book and yoga games can be fun. Join your child in walking and balancing a book on your heads. Your kids will learn how to stand up properly and position their necks and heads in a manner that will stimulate proper posture.

3) Posture from the Ground Up: The foot has four points of contact: heel, mid foot, forefoot and toe. Teach your child about the way his foot works. The correct way of walking is to use the entire foot. You walk, balance and then push off, really feeling your feet as you walk. The child’s weight should be balanced equally between the heels and the balls of both feet. Good balance and stamina will establish great, muscle and brain coordination.

4) Benefits of Walking Barefoot at Home: Going barefoot when possible is advantageous so don’t discourage it. Bare feet are much better than flip-flops. Flip-flops are just as harmful as high heeled shoes which stunt neurological development. The child’s brain receives balance information directly from his feet and shoes.

5) Upgrade Play to Climbing: Remember monkey bars and trees? Climbing involves core stability and strength, both of which encourage good posture. Take your kids bike riding. The way a person needs to sit on a bike to find good balance generates good posture.

We have touched on some of the ways you and your child can have good posture. If you have not seen improvement with the above-mentioned ideas, it might be time to consult with a scoliosis therapist. A session or two with a schroth therapist may be all the help you need if given the right tips and simple exercises. Firm mattresses, taut couches and chairs are some of the household items that are important to keep in mind. However, don’t make their beds and couches too comfy, because you want to see your child active as much as possible. Bedtime should be the time where they unwind and relax in a leisurely way.

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