Writing in a Healthy Way

With term underway, hopefully your kids will be back into study mode. One of my many passions
is that children should work in a healthy way! I’ve recently had some teenagers who, when I’ve worked with them with the Alexander Technique, have beautiful posture. Unfortunately though, they spend far too long sitting and slumping, even working on the floor at home. In this case, I need to give the parents a talking to! It’s important to invest some good kid-friendly furniture and aids to help them study well.

For myself, when I was a student at college, I was bending over working at a desk that was too low and I consequently started to suffer from ‘student syndrome’ with pain at the base of my neck and upper back (the Trapezius region).  One Saturday afternoon I bought a nice quality piece of cheap chipboard (unpainted, the books didn’t slide off) and with the aid of 4 pieces of wood, sloped the desk and raised the height. Like magic, my pain suddenly stopped, thankfully avoiding the delightful prospect of allowing one of my Chiropractic student colleagues the opportunity to give me some treatment…

Benefits of a Writing Slope


There are many benefits to a writing slope, or slanting board, which can be so easy to make or buy. 

  1. Less strain on the eyes. Our eyes want to look perpendicular to our work, be it a monitor or paper.  By elevating the paper at a slant, our eyes don’t pull our necks down as much, so our shoulders, neck and back naturally find a more upright posture. This, of course, naturally translates to a better posture. 
  2. Reduced reach. The slant board reduces the reach, bringing the paper closer so our shoulders are less twisted. It also means that for children who can’t reach the entire paper while flat on the desk, they now have the opportunity to reach from the top to the bottom, while keeping the paper stabilised. 
  3. Writing is easier. The wrist position is more natural, holding the pencil more stable and accurate and it is easier to move the pencil more fluidly. 
  4. The slant board promotes better fine visual and motor skills, and the writing and drawing is likely to be more accurate. 
  5. Comfort = FUN! Although we are often unaware of this, if we are comfortable in our posture, our minds are clearer and we can work with more focus for longer, with better results and more enjoyment. For some children this may even mean their drawing skills improve and they become more confident!   

The Three Points of Positioning

When a child is sitting at a desk, there should be three 90-degree angles:

  1. Feet planted flat on the ground, ankles at a 90-degree angle. (If their feet do not reach to the floor, then use a small stool, box or stack of books to make it happen!)
  2. Knees bent at 90 degrees.
  3. Sitting upright with the hips and torso at a 90-degree angle.  

If you find your child is slouching, then invest in a slant board to help them maintain the ideal posture. And why not invest in one for yourself, too? We can all benefit from writing at an angle!

Categories: Chiropractic, Self Help
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