Choosing the right chair for Virtual School
Updated: Sep 30, 2020
On-line school can potentially wreak havoc with kids’ posture, as they sprawl on the couch or sit at a desk with their feet dangling. By following a few simple principles, you can set up your child for success at the start of the school year, before unwanted habits become ingrained.
1. Choose the chair first. The devil is in the details!
Your child’s feet should be flat on the floor (not dangling)
Hips, knees and ankles should be at 90-degree angles
The child’s back should be supported against the back of the chair
The space between the back of your child’s knees and the front of the seat should be about 2 inches. If you can put a finger or two between the child’s knee and the front of the seat, you’ve got about 2 inches
The chair should be upright, not tilted back
2. The desk/table needs to fit the chair
The height of the table or desk top should be 2 inches above the elbow when your child is seated
A slanted desktop may help a child sit up straighter because it does not require him to bend his neck forward. When a child works on a slant he automatically extends the wrist, which puts his hand in an optimal position for neat efficient handwriting
Center the computer right in front of your child. A keyboard tray right below the surface of the desk is helpful to position the hands for comfortable keyboarding
To support back health, make sure your child uses the breaks between classes or assignments to get up and move around actively so when she sits back down her posture is upright and she can pay attention
I recommend having at least 2 ergonomically sound seating arrangements so that the kids can sit and work at their own desks with good posture and sit at the dining room or kitchen table for a family meal, game night or arts and crafts
My favorite chair to support healthy posture is the Stokke Tripp Trapp chair. It has a seat and footplate that can be easily adjusted to fit any table or desk, and it grows with your child.
If your child needs to move around there are lots of chair substitutes that are great to mix in throughout the day, as long your child’s feet are firmly planted on the floor and the desk/table is the appropriate height, as above. Try a well inflated yoga ball placed in a planter tray to prevent it from rolling away, an accordion chair or a wobble chair