5 Tips to Teach Your Child Better Posture


“Sit up straight, don’t slouch!” Everyone has heard this phrase many times as children. Parents seem to understand the importance of having good posture, but do they actually understand why it is so important?

Proper posture plays a fundamental role in the anatomical development of children from a young age. Posture refers to the body’s alignment and positioning with respect to the ever-present force of gravity. Whether we are standing, sitting or lying down, gravity exerts a force on our joints, ligaments and muscles. When the body is in proper alignment, the bones, not the muscles support our weight, reducing overall effort and strain.

Think about it, the first thing you notice about people is not their eyes, not their hair, not even their clothes. It’s their posture. Yet looks aren’t the best reason to improve your posture. Health is. What begins as merely a visual posture imbalance can lead to spinal degeneration, muscle dysfunction patterns, and chronic pain if not corrected.

What does proper posture look like? The spine should be straight with contracted abdominal muscles to support the lower back. The shoulders and the head are pulled back (it is optimal to have the ear and shoulder in alignment), and equal weight is distributed over both of the hips and feet.

Learning proper postural habits starts at a young age. As a parent, what can you do to improve your child’s posture?

Consider these five tips to help your child have better posture:

Teach Your Child the “Postural ABCs”:
First, it is important to bring postural awareness to your child, and to demonstrate what proper posture looks like. At the American Posture Institute we teach children the “Postural ABCs” so they can easily remember good postural habits throughout the day. “A” is for alignment of the spine, “B” is for balance, and “C” is for core control.

Praise Your Child:
Be sure to praise your child when they maintain a good posture. Positive reinforcement helps children learn proper postural habits. When you see your child standing up straight, compliment them by telling they how tall and grown up they appear. Soon your child will be motivated to stand straight all the time.

Lead by Example:
Encourage your child by having good posture yourself! Your posture may have deteriorated without you realizing it. So be conscious of your own stance and lead by example.

Perform an At-Home Posture Check:
To detect for misalignments and postural abnormalities, perform an at-home postural exam of your child. Stand behind them (kneel down if necessary so you are eye level with their spine). Evaluate if the shoulders and the scapulae are even, then look at the hips, are the hips the same height? Now evaluate their posture from the side. The ear, shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle should all be in alignment. If the head or abdomen juts forward it causes additional stress to the neck and back. Now from the font see if both of their feet are pointed forward and be sure that the knees are not turned in or out. Please note, if postural imbalances are detected, your child should have a complete postural analysis done by a certified Postural Specialist.

Have Posture Photos Taken at Least Once a Year:
From the age of 6 years old, all children should have a thorough postural analysis with posture photos taken at least once a year. By taking regular posture photos, it is easy to detect postural imbalances at a young age and correct them before the child experiences pain or discomfort. Contact a Postural Specialist in your area to set up a posture analysis for your child.

Written By:
Dr. Krista Burns DC, DRHA, CPEP, CPS
Doctor of Chiropractic
Doctor of Health Administration
Certified Postural Specialist
Co-Founder American Posture Institute

Posture by Design, Not by Circumstance

Dr. Krista Burns
Dr. Krista Burns, co-founder of the American Posture Institute, is dedicated to the development and expansion of the American Posture Institute as the number one recognized leader in postural correction and postural certification programs in the world. She graduated with honors as a Doctor of Chiropractic from the prestigious university Palmer College of Chiropractic. Passionate about furthering her education, she completed a Ph.D. in Health Administration with an emphasis in Health Policy. To further her clinical expertise she completed certifications as a Certified Postural Specialist, Certified Posture Exercise Professional, and a Specialist in Functional Chiropractic Neurology. She is an inspiring public speaker and has been a featured presenter at forums such as the International Functional Medicine Conference in Italy and the Women’s Leadership Summit in the United States. Dr. Burns is a published author and researcher in the field of health and wellness. As a recognized health expert, she has been featured on Sport Magazine televised program, CYOU TV live radio program, and as a contributing author to L’Accademia del Fitness national health magazine. She is also the founder and President of the League of Chiropractic Women-Europe, an organization dedicated to the advancement of women in the chiropractic profession. In addition to her esteemed professional accomplishments, she has always had a love for fitness. As a teenager she was a competitive member of the United States Freestyle Development Ski Team, and a qualifier for the US National Championships and North American Competition skiing circuit. Her love for sports continues, as she is currently a recognized fitness competitor for the International Federation of Bodybuilders. She was a top finisher in the Northern Italian Championships, qualifying her for her top 10th finish in the Italian National Championships as a Bikini competitor. Dr. Burns has a passion for all things “health.” She lives the advice she gives. Her superior personal work ethic is demonstrated by her continuous devotion to academics, her admired professional accomplishments, her role as a woman leader in the chiropractic profession, and her successes as a professional athlete.