Kids studying from home means that many of them are not working on desks, but at dining room tables, kitchen islands or wherever there happens to be a free surface. Unfortunately, few of these spaces were designed for long periods of sitting and are unlikely to be conducive to proper posture.
So how can we help keep our children healthy and comfortable while studying from home?
Things You Might Need for Your Homeschool Workstation
- Adjustable or kid-sized chair
- Stool, ottoman or box to use as a footrest
- Propped tablet stand
- Eyeglasses with an updated prescription
- Desk lamp
- At-home exercise equipment such as soccer balls, basketball hoops or yoga balls
A few ergonomic adjustments can make your child’s learning area much more efficient. From choosing the right chair to keeping their eyes healthy, check out these 6 tips for a more comfortable and healthier student:
1. Find a properly sized chair.
No one chair fits every kid perfectly. Even at school, desks are often too small or too big for some students. At home, investing in an adjustable desk chair can help address some of the discomforts.
If buying an adjustable chair is not an option, find the best size from the chairs at home. Ideally, your kid will be able to lean against the backrest with the back of their knees over the edge of the seat.
2. Provide a footrest.
If your child is working from an adult-sized chair, chances are their feet are dangling. Place a stepping stool or ottoman below them for resting their feet. This will make sitting more comfortably.
Don’t have a stepping stool? Get creative with those cardboard boxes from online shopping or just use a stack of heavy books.
3. Place their monitor slightly below eye level.
Constantly looking up at a screen can put strain on the neck. Conversely, a screen that is too low should be raised. Ideally, computer screens should be slightly below eye level.
If kids are working on tablets, instead of holding them in their laps, try placing the device on a cookbook holder or stand. This allows them to sit back and relax rather than slouching over the screen.
4. Keep their eyesight healthy.
Online classes mean increased screen time. In order to avoid straining their eyesight, it’s a good idea to provide them with breaks from the screen throughout the day. This might mean interspersing hardcopy assignments throughout the day or asking them to take their lunch away from the television and computer.
5. Provide good lighting if they are reading books.
If your kids are reading books or working on printed assignments, make sure they have good lighting in their work area. You could place a lamp on their desk or set up their workstation by a window for natural light.
6. Schedule breaks.
Finally, to ensure your kids stay healthy and comfortable throughout the school year, make sure you schedule breaks throughout the day to allow them to move. Sitting too long can have adverse health effects. Encourage movement throughout the day by scheduling walks around the block, quick bike rides or even some family yoga time.
Sources: Ergonomics Health Association. “Ergonomics For Children In The Classroom In 2020”; National Institute of Health. “Computer Workstation Ergonomics: Self-Assessment Checklist.”