Words by Karen Hall, Chiropractor Were your kids exhausted by the end of the term, barely able to sit up straight? Are they hoping to slump over any available device as much as possible these holidays? Here are some easy suggestions on how to use the holiday “slouch fest” to help your kids improve their posture. I know I’m hoping to inspire lots of outdoor play these holidays but if it gets too hot or wet, then the great indoors will beckon. I’m also realistic enough to know that any digital detox can’t last forever. Heck, I’m even hoping to inspire plenty of book reading but I think this was probably the beginning of the pre-digital hunched over, head forward, poor posture. In fact babies start with a total body forward curve but with time and strength their lower back and neck extend, eventually allowing them to be upright. Unfortunately ours and our children’s love affair with everything digital is encouraging a head forward slump, which can lead to neck pain, headaches and a host of other issues. A good stretch of holidays can be great time to start up some good habits and work towards a more ideal posture. So if your kids want to use a portable device, encourage them to do it lying on the floor, or any decent flat surface. Yes, lying on their tummies is fine because it encourages them to lift their heads up into extension. This is the proper neck curve that gets reversed when they lean forward. Then they will have to prop up on their elbows and when they do this, make sure that their shoulders stay low instead of sagging and winding up around their ears. Or they can lie on their backs but must hold the device at eye level. If they’ve had an active day first, then lying down may actually encourage them to fall asleep – a good surreptitious way to shorten device time. As a chiropractor, I’m saddened to see these posture issues are affecting younger and younger kids. I encourage my patients to take regular breaks and then stretch and do eye exercises, such as focusing on near and far objects. Chin tucks and neck stretches, fit ball work, Pilates and yoga all build strength and flexibility which enable good posture. Chiropractors are spinal professionals and ideally trained to help your child grow into great, pain free posture. Consider having yourself assessed too as kids are great at mimicking, so sorting out your own postural issues could have a flow on effect. Let’s use these holidays to help our kids relax well. Then they’ll be in great shape to do well and grow well in school and in life.