When it comes to getting the kids ready to go back to school, it’s often a race against the clock to get school uniforms, stationery and books ready in time. But one other thing parents mustn’t forget to plan for is looking after their children’s backs.
To better protect your child’s back for the new school term, here are a few tips from the British Chiropractic Association…
The Perfect Fit
It’s essential to ensure that children are using a good school bag and that the one they do use is not too heavy, as these factors can have an effect on their posture and contribute to back and neck pain, not only now but also later on in adult life.
There are two types of bag that are recommended: a ‘cross-body’ bag with a wide padded adjustable strap, or a rucksack with two wide padded adjustable straps. In both cases, the bag should be worn properly and not suspended from one shoulder or carried in one hand.
Bag it up
Children should also only be packing the essential items in their bag, making sure the weight of the contents is distributed evenly. Heavier items should be placed at the top of the bag so that the shoulders aren’t pulled backwards, which can create discomfort and more imbalance.
If your child has a habit of overpacking, try spending just a few minutes every evening helping them to pack their school bag.
Encouraging regular physical activity is so important to your child’s wellbeing and can reduce their chances of experiencing low back pain. After a long day at school sitting down at their desks, using a tablet, or staring at a computer screen, try and get your child to spend their downtime doing something active like playing outside or joining a weekly sports club. The NHS’s Change4Life campaign also has lots of activity ideas if you need inspiration.
Being active for just 60 minutes a day is linked to better general health, stronger bones and muscles and higher levels of self-esteem.
With the return to school comes the return of homework – if possible, encourage the kids to work from a table, ideally using a chair that has good back support, rather than a sofa or soft chair. This will help keep their posture in a good position and not add any extra pressure on their backs. If you spot them slouching over the table, it’s worth giving them a little nudge to sit back in the seat.
If your children use laptops and other screens too, see if they can use them with the main screen level to their eye height. This will cause less pressure on the back of their necks and shoulders, helping to keep any strain at bay.
The top things to remember are to stop your children from carrying unnecessary loads and encourage them to be active when they can, helping to make the start to the school year that little bit more comfortable for them and their backs!