Healthy at Home Habits for Back-to-School
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Thank you to everyone who joined me to discuss my favorite healthy habits in preparation for the reopening of Florida schools! I had so many people reach following the webinar asking for a recording, that I decided to post it in a blog for anyone who was unable to make it. However, as I started to write this blog, I realized that fitting a one-hour webinar into one blog just isn’t feasible! Therefore, I’ll be releasing it in a series of blog posts.
We all know that life is different due to coronavirus. Whether or not your child is returning to the classroom, or is doing virtual schooling life has probably changed.
That makes this the perfect time to establish new habits and routines!
In this blog post series, we are going to discuss five categories:
1. Setting up a home workstation
2. Eating patterns
3. Physical activity routines
4. Stress management
Sound good? Let’s get started!
Today, we will start with #1: Setting up a home workstation.
All over social media, I’ve been seeing families set up these BEAUTIFUL home work stations for kids. While beautiful, they are not always functional. Setting up a workstation that supports your child and their body is important to decrease pain and fatigue while improving attention.
The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (1) released a wonderful handout that discussed the top 8 areas to consider when setting up a home environment:
- Location: Consider if the placement of your child’s desk will work for them. Is the computer screen facing the window? Is there a glare?
- Type: Did you choose a sitting or standing desk? According to the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, a combination was best. For standing, you can try using the kitchen counter.
- Variety: Too long in one position can cause us pain. Different positions and stations in the house can be helpful for certain projects.
- Set-up: It is really important to consider an appropriate sized chair and table for your child. For this, we like to refer to the 90/90/90 rule. Their feet should be flat on the floor, with the knees bent to 90 degrees, and their body 90 degrees to their hip (straight up).
If your child’s feet cannot reach the floor, you can try placing a stepstool, pillow, or bin under their feet. If they are leaning too far back, you can try placing a rolled blanket or pillow behind their back.
Additionally, try to position any computer screens just below eye level. You can use textbooks or boxes to elevate a laptop. This will prevent excess prolonged flexion or extension of the neck.
- Vision: Looking at the screen all day can be hard for your eyes. You can try the 20/20/20 rule. For every 20 minutes your child spends staring at the computer, have them look 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
- Hearing: Can your child hear their classes? Or do they have to lean forward and hunch their shoulders? You can also try alternating with and without wireless earbuds to allow them to move freely throughout the room during classes.
- Air-quality: Don’t forget fresh air! You can take some breaks outside or open windows.
- Breaks: My yoga teacher always says “motion is lotion.” This is because when we move synovial fluid is able to move into our joints. Make sure your child gets up periodically and moves to decreased pain and improve attention.
So, when you design your child’s workstation this week, keep these tips in mind!
If you would like a copy of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society’s handout, send me a quick email at Samantha@theot4me.com or text me your email at 561-223-1620 with the word “ERGONOMICS” and I would be more than happy to send you a copy!
In the next blog post of this series we will be discussing Eating Patterns. Subscribe here to get this sent right to your email!
Thanks for reading,
1. Andre, A., Gibson, S., Jacobs, K., Lueder, R., Benden, M., Amlie, K., Honan, M., Afternman, M., & Stuart-Buttle, C. (2020). Education for Home Ergonomics Guidelines. Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. WWW.HFES.ORG