Children's remote learning tips

With the rapid increase in device use, our children's developing spines are under enormous strain.  Tech-neck is an overuse syndrome involving the head, neck, and shoulders and is caused by looking in a forward and downward position for long periods of time.

As a Physiotherapist and mother, I'm seeing  more and more children with device-related conditions that can be prevented with the right home setup.

If your child is using a tablet or a laptop, here are some quick and easy ways to minimise strain on their body.

Using a tablet?

  • Prop the tablet up on a picture frame or cushion.
  • Use a stylus (you can make your own at home with instructions here).
  • Use headphones to prevent neck craning

Working on the dining table?

  • Prop the tablet on a cushion or picture frame.
  • Support their feet with a box or lego container.
  • Use pillows to support their back.
  • Use a Stylus or an external keyboard + mouse.
  • Use Headphones

Working on the couch?

  • Pillow support behind their back.
  • Support their feet
  • Tablet propped up on a cushion.
  • Use a Stylus.
  • Use headphones.

Ergonomic Tips for Laptop set up for your teen/tween:

Working on the dining table:

  • Separate the keyboard from the screen.
  • Use books or a laptop riser to raise the laptop to eye level.
  • Use a compact external keyboard + mouse.
  • Lower the keyboard + mouse on a lap desk, cutting board, or board game to belly-button level.
  • Support their feet with books or a lego container.
  • Use a pillow for lumbar support behind their back.

Sitting on the floor:

  • Pillow behind back.
  • Legs out straight (hamstring stretch).
  • Laptop or tablet on a little table at eye level.
  • Use a separate keyboard + mouse on lap, by using a board game or box.
  • Use headphones.

What else can we do?

  • Use headphones to avoid craning their neck.
  • Get them moving! Turn on some music and dance, exercise to Youtube videos, do Yoga, and move hourly.
  • Try and keep the usual school routine with breaks.
  • Balance out 2D screen time with 3D work. Do activities such as art and craft, lego, card games, board games.
  • Try and get a good night's sleep! This may mean charging and turning screens off at least 1 hour before bed.

As parents, need to role model for our children to prevent poor postures associated with poor set ups.  They will be on devices for at least 20 years until they get to the workforce, so let's look after their spines now before it's too late!