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Sitting correctly: It’s energy-efficient and performance-enhancing


The weekly DevelopmenTip: Sit correctly – it saves energy and improves performance.

We are all subject to the consistent force of gravity, which pulls everything down. Gravity acts on children when they are sitting.


When children are sitting correctly with support, gravity still has an impact but not a significant one, because most of the weight is carried by the bones and joints with only a bit of muscle work; this is energy-efficient sitting that leaves the child free to learn.


For children sitting incorrectly, with their feet not resting completely on the floor, the muscles have to resist the gravity that is pulling them down and causing them to slip out of the chair.

This resistance takes place throughout the school day. Sitting, which is supposed to be restful, thus turns into exercise. The amount of energy a child has, assuming he slept and ate well and feels loved, should be sufficient for all of his functioning throughout the day, especially for learning, attention and concentration, emotional and social challenges, physical activities, and development. There are no “reserves" – all of these functions are fueled from one tank of energy. Improper sitting wastes energy that needs to available for all of these activities and more.

Another point to think about is that as creatures who walk on two feet, most of us have a basic need to feel our base, the ground under our feet. Children who sit with their feet dangling, not reaching the floor, are suspended between heaven and earth, which can sometimes be reflected in their performance at school or in kindergarten.

Children should sit with both feet resting on the ground. At the heel there should be a 90-degree angle between the foot and the shin, and at the knee there should be a 90-degree angle between the shin and the thigh. The back should be straight against the back of the chair. If the feet do not rest flat on the floor, they should be supported by a footstool or box.

The desk should be placed at a distance of two fingers from the child’s middle.

Make sure the desk’s surface is about 4 inches (10 cm) above the child’s thighs.

It is important to note that after prolonged sitting, one should loosen up the bones and joints by doing exercises and stretches. This can be very refreshing, and also increases children’s (and adults’) attention span and concentration, and relieves stress.

Happy development... Guy Y. Yekutieli -Pediatric Occupational therapist


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