Your teen's posture while watching TV or playing on her computer might seem like no big deal, but it could eventually cramp her style. According to Wills Family Chiropractic in Clarkston, Michigan, a teen's body starts compensating for poor posture through misalignment, which can lead to future spinal problems. A few reminders might be all that's needed to get your teen to sit up straight and quit slouching. Make it easier for her by issuing small reminders and tools that help improve your teen's posture.
Adjust your teen's computer, desk and chair for proper posture. When seated at a computer, your teen's elbows and knees should form a 90-degree angle and the computer screen should be easily visible without having to strain forward. If your teen has a laptop, keep it out of her bed or invest in an ergonomic laptop desk that makes it easier for him to position her neck, shoulders and back properly when using it away from her desk.
Correct your teen's posture when you see her slouching. While she might act annoyed when you straighten up her shoulders, it's a good reminder to sit up straight. When you see her slouching, rotate her shoulders back and straighten out her spine with your hands -- you don't even need to say a word. Or, you can prompt your teen to stop slouching verbally, suggests Dr. Kristine Fortuna, assistant professor in the department of orthopedic surgery at Temple University in Philadelphia, in an article for Disney Family. Chances are, your teen has simply forgotten proper posture.
Give your teen a tennis ball when she's working on her computer or watching TV. Tell her to keep the ball between the middle of her spine and the chair for better posture. Adding a prop can make your teen more open to perfecting her posture. The challenge of keeping the ball wedged between the chair and her back keeps her sitting up straight.
Institute regular breaks from poor posture, suggests the Cleveland Clinic. If you notice that your teen is glued to the TV while lying on a beanbag chair or slouched over her laptop, stop what she's doing and get her to stand up and stretch every half hour. Breaks help counteract the effects of poor posture and they can help reduce the strain on your teen's back, neck, shoulders and even her eyes.
Model proper posture around your home. When you straighten up, let your teen see you roll your shoulders and straighten your back and neck while saying, "Oh, I didn't even notice I was slouching -- that feels so much better." When your teen sees the benefits of sitting or standing straight, it can help ingrain the importance of good posture in her mind.
If your teen slouches all the time or seems in pain when sitting straight, see your doctor. Your teen could have a curvature of the spine called scoliosis or another spine issue, which can be treated.