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Ergonomic Tips to Help Children Stay Healthy During Online Learning
- Ensure that your child has a proper study area. He/she should sit on a chair with back support at a desk or dining table instead of sitting on a couch, bed, or floor, which promotes poor posture.
- A computer or tablet should be placed in front of the child, instead of letting him/her hold the screen. The top of the screen should be just below eye level.
- The child should sit up straight with the back supported. The height of the chair should be such that the child’s elbows are at 90° or slightly past 90°when resting on the desk. This allows for neutral position of the wrist when the child is typing, and avoids undue strain. The child’s feet should be resting on the floor. You can place a small stool under the feet to prevent the feet from dangling.
- ▪︎ Encourage your child to make use of the break in between sessions. Ask him/her to stand up and stretch his/her arms up and wiggle the hands. You can alternatively ask him/her to get the textbooks and notebooks for the next class, prepare the necessary stationery, or do 10 jumping jacks.
- The screen should be placed at least 2 feet away from the child.
- Encourage the child to blink intermittently.
- After every 20 minutes, encourage the child to look away from the screen at a point 6 feet away, and focus on that point for 20 seconds.
- Reduce other unnecessary screen time, and encourage more physical play.
Exercises and activities: As children spend most of their time indoors, try to ensure that they get an hour of physical activity in the form of fun games, yoga, exercises, etc. A few examples are:
- Throwing and catching a ball
- Jumping jacks
- Yoga – The suryanamaskar is quite beneficial for kids, as it stretches the whole body and major muscle groups.
- Cat exercise – Come on the knees and hands (all fours), then arch your back up ,looking between your arms, towards your tummy. Hold to the count of 3. Now, move your tummy down, and lift your head up. Be careful that your child shouldn’t arch too deeply.
- Chin tucks – Ask your child to tuck his/her chin in without bending the neck, and hold to the count of 5. Relax and repeat.
- Shrugging – Ask your child to bring his/her shoulders up towards his/her ears, hold for a few seconds, then down and relax.
Teaching children the correct ergonomics during virtual learning initially requires effort on the part of the parents, but with repetition and constant reminders, it can easily become a part of child’s habit and behaviour. An appropriate combination of ergonomics and physical activity in the long run can prevent many musculoskeletal issues that arise due to prolonged poor posture.