By Julia Vinokur

My older daughter is a first grader, and I realize that she spends more and more time sitting by the desk.  We have just a regular desk at home for her right now, but I started to think that it might not be enough.  A good sitting position is critical for children’s healthy development and eyesight. It can cause bad posture, neck and back muscle tension, wrist pressure, and eyestrain.  Sitting in certain positions can be harmful to the child’s spine or result in other bad effects, such as neck strain, low back brain or carpel tunnel syndrome,  and even abnormal bone growth.

Proper sitting position

I have been doing some research about desks, and learned that there are several rules about sitting “properly”:

• The lower leg should be vertical to the floor, the thigh horizontal.

• The arms should be resting on the desktop in a relaxed position.

• Desks and scholastic furniture should be height adjustable.

• The seat should tilt forward by approximately 2 degrees.

• The seat depth should be positioned correctly: the calves should not be in contact with the front edge of the seat.

• The backrest should be adapted to the back and support the lumbar region.

• A tilting desktop encourages an upright position that is better for the back.

Proper sitting by a Computer

13962742_mToday it is normal practice for older children to use a computer.  And there are healthier solutions that will help children with posture while sitting by a PC.  Proper desks would have the following properties:

• The monitor shelf can be lowered to follow the natural tilted position of the head, which helps to reduce tension in the back of the neck.

• The swing-up keyboard shelf should be in place to rest the arms, provide relaxation and sufficient distance from the screen.

Here are some great options to implement at home

olddeskWhen I was going to school back in Russia, all children had tilted desks at the elementary schools.  All the teachers were making sure that children’s postures were proper.  So, I started to look for some options that we can implement at home.  I found several ideas:

 

  1. Since I have a desk already, this Ergo-Rite Slant Board for writing might be a solution. http://tinyurl.com/qhx22ja
  2. These schoolhouse desks look very much like the school desks from my childhood.  They do not take a lot of space, yet they have everything your child will need.  With a proper adjustable chair it can serve you for several years. http://tinyurl.com/m4ybyfm
  3. Adjustable table would be much better, allowing your child to use it for a very long time.  I like this table, even though I would prefer to have some drawers, at least for pencils and paper.  http://tinyurl.com/jwgecon
  4. Here is a kids-friendly table that would allow self correction of the posture and distance from the eyes to the desk. http://tinyurl.com/l8umj7y
  5. Posture in style ergonomic desks made in Germany are adjustable, and though expensive, can last forever.  http://www.postureinstyle.com

One last thing to remember is that the writing desk has to have proper lighting.   It should come from left if your child is right handed, and opposite if left handed.  It should be bright, not blocked by anything, and preferably adjustable.