Why Do Kids Slouch in Their Seats?You see it every day in the classroom. Kids slouched down at their desks, legs out in the aisles, head propped up on their hand, and maybe even falling right out of the chair.
Why do kids slouch so much in their seats?
There are many reasons for the slouched posture that you see when you glance up and down the rows of desks in any classroom: boredom, attention, distraction, or fatigue are probably the culprits.
But sometimes, there is an underlying reason behind the slouched posture that kids use day after day at school.
Sometimes there is a sensory reason.
Posture, Sensory Processing, and the Classroom
When a child slouches in their seats in the classroom (or at home--You can definitely see this positioning at the dinner table, during homework, in a doctor's waiting room, or even in church pews!) there can sometimes be a sensory reason behind the poor posture.
Now, it needs to be said that sensory issues are not always going to be the case with slouched posture. Sensory processing and unmet sensory needs are just one reason that you might see slouched positions when kids sit for a period of time. Some kids get into a comfortable position. Sometime core weakness is an issue. Sometimes it is just plain old boredom, fatigue, or attention.
When there are other sensory processing concerns, you can potentially see the connection between sensory processing and posture when sitting.
Why do Kids Slouch in their Seats? A Sensory Reason!
One possible reason for slouched posture is a relationship to unmet sensory needs. Postural control deficits can potentially present due to poor processing of vestibular and/or proprioceptive information.
These kids may have trouble maintaining an upright posture over time. They might seek out or avoid pressure from the desk or chair on the backs of their legs. They might have a need for movement or a fear of falling from the chair if vestibular the vestibular sense is challenged.
How to Help Kids Sit with Better Posture in the Classroom
There are a few sensory-based strategies that can help with posture:
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- Movement seats like a disk cushion are great for allowing movement for improved attention.
- Wobble Seat uses the idea of a therapy or stability ball in the form of a stool. This is great for classroom use because the giant therapy balls tend to roll away from desks.
- Try this super frugal seating version that you can DIY and use to cushion the whole classroom.
- Allow kids to lay on the floor for some activities. Yep, right in the classroom! A towel draped on the floor or a yoga mat can be a softer surface for hard classroom floors. Laying on the floor provides proprioceptive input and provides stability through the upper body and shoulder girdle. Add a few bean bags chairs or pillows to the classroom for lounging and reading centers. These can be just the movement and heavy work break that is needed (and CAN fit into the educational curriculum of the day) to allow for better posture when seated at a desk.
- Try a slanted table surface. There are a lot of slant boards on the market. Or, you can make your own DIY version to save money.
- Take a quick check on desk and chair size. The feet should touch the floor. Add a cardboard box, taped phone books, or have the custodial department make a wooden base for feet under the desk. Other options include a very slightly slanted surface.
- Try adding a non-slip surface to the seat of the chair. Use a square of dycem or a piece of no-slip shelf liner material for a frugal option.
What are your favorite ways to encourage better posture in the classroom or at home?