Back to school, it doesn’t have to be a pain in the neck…..
Woohoo! Australia Day is here! Such an awesome time to celebrate what makes this country of ours great. With the sun, surf, bush and beach, Newcastle could not be a better place to soak it all in! For some adults though there is an additional reason to celebrate….. there’s the freedom of the little ones running back to the classroom!! Some kids love school and can’t wait to go back to school – an awesome place to play, be with friends and try a whole bunch of new things. For others the sound of the school bell is an eerie reminder of the pain, discomfort, boredom and embarrassment that another year brings.
Here are a couple of tips that you can possibly use to help make your child’s next school year as enjoyable as possible and not just another countdown till Easter.
When people think Chiropractic and back to school, the first thing that usually comes up is backpacks. Most backpack problems occur from too much weight, a poor fit and incorrect wearing of the pack. Your child’s backpack should not resemble a military pack. As a guide they should carry a max of 10-15% of their body weight in their school bags. If a heavily weighted, book laden bag is incorrectly placed on their shoulders, the load can pull a child backwards. They’ll in turn compensate by hunching forward and resembling a turtle or arching their back causing excessive spinal compression.
If your child uses the traditional backpack – urge them to wear both straps and take advantage of the abdominal strap if present. The bag should sit in the upper third of their back, not hanging below their waist.
When picking a backpack look for two wide, padded shoulder straps, a padded back, waist belt and multiple compartments. Just to throw a curve ball in there, messenger bags or purses – despite potential problems – are usually the better choice for children. They can keep the overall load of the bag down and if used correctly, the strong muscles in the body like the back and abdominal muscles distribute the weight evenly across the body.
Walk/Ride, Move & Play
We have all seen just how beautifully young children move. I believe that one of the best examples is watching a child squat. Feet flat on the floor they can hold this position for seemingly hours while engrossed in their game. However, studies show unfortunately that after the age of 5 this “natural” movement gets harder and harder. Australia’s current school system places a huge emphasis on sitting and if research tells us just 8 hours of sitting per day creates muscle damage that is irreversible in adults, what sort of effect does it have in kids???
If the option exists for your children to walk or ride to school please do so. Their bodies will love them for it. Likewise encouraging weekend sport, nippers, soccer, running, climbing a tree or swinging from a rope are all great things to help your child’s bodies stay as supple and as mobile as possible.
The technological advancement we’ve gone through over the past few years is amazing! Gone are the days of the “World Book Encyclopaedia” or even just having one computer per house. Computers, tablets, & phones are and can all be hooked up to the wonderful information superhighway that is the internet.
However, the more time we spend glued to our phones the worse it is. This goes for adults and kids alike however, please minimise screen time. It’s almost impossible to hold good posture on a mobile device, we hunch, round our shoulders and even crane our heads forward. Additionally the artificial light can disrupt our normal sleep cycles, hormone balance and production.
How long should you hold or stare at a tablet or phone? For as long as you can hold it directly in front of your face- when standing….. This probably isn’t that long, but that is ideal. Short of that, lying on your stomach and having the tablet propped up would help. Likewise using a mount so that the tablet is held at eye level would at least minimise the muscle strain.
Positive Connections & Reinforcement
School is a great place to socialise, to meet and hang out with people your own age. However, sometimes it is hard to find people that you truly connect with. Bullying has never been cool, but unfortunately technology means bullying isn’t just restricted to school hours. Kids need to belong – to belong to a social family. Ideally that family includes school however, the most important family for your child is that unique tribe that is your family where unrequited love is the number one language. Like any members of a tribe they need to feel listened, respected, talked to, encouraged and to feel loved. To know that no matter what happens the sun will rise again & they’ll always have someone that loves them just for them is the best gift in the world.
Kids and their beautiful uniqueness also means that they learn in different ways or excel in different subjects. The short time frame in the class room might make it tough to find the best way for your child to learn, but perhaps you can play with it. After all to play is to learn, maybe your child learns best by touch & feel, by listening, by doing or by performing. Insanity is defined as doing the same thing and expecting different results. So, maybe repeatedly demanding Johnny to practice his times tables, there is a different way to do it. After all “to grow is to change, and to perfect is to change often.”
We have already talked about the effects that prolonged hours of sitting in school has on our bodies. The hours of concentration can be tiring on little bodies and minds. If their little bodies aren’t given the right support, maintaining correct posture is tough. The worse your posture, the more pressure on the muscles and the more fatigued they’ll feel.
Chiropractic can help to improve the way they move, feel and adapt to the changes that occur getting back into the rhythm of the school year. If their body is tense or tight, it can be too uncomfortable for them to concentrate in the classroom. Additionally, chiropractic is proven to decrease the pressure on their little nervous system. This enhances the processing of information travelling along their information super highway from the outside world in and vice versa (so that they can process information better and learn better too).
Knowledge is Power
There you have it! 5 possible areas you may like to look into when trying to help you child get into the groove of another fantastic school year. The phrase “knowledge is power” may be a little corny, but it has always been and continues to be true. Even today, it’s easy to see the influence and importance that education has. In essence, it can be said that education is the key to bettering oneself, it opens doors and offers numerous opportunities. Wouldn’t you like to help your child find that key???