Back in Action Blog

Benefits of Healthy Sitting for Children

Published on  – 4 minute read

There’s an old adage: “Prevention is better than cure”. It's true for all of us - and applies more the earlier you start. Children are blank canvases, and there is so much that parents can do to protect young spines. It's not possible to stop them sitting for hours on end - its a pre-requisite of school, homework and television - but there are things that can help to preserve vitality, movement and spinal health.

We want to help you hold onto the instinctive ways in which children sit, move, work and play.

When observing children sitting, often we’ll see them ‘perched’ on the edge of a seat with their knees below their hips. This is intuitive, comes naturally and we believe passionately that this sitting position should be encouraged.

We have spent many many years working with children and scouring the world for the best methods, sitting aids and chairs to keep our own children, and our customers children, healthy.

We couldn’t consider children’s seating without mentioning the world-renowned Tripp Trapp chair designed by Peter Opsvik in 1972 for his then young son. He wanted a way for a child/toddler to be able to sit at the table at the same height as the rest of the family. Since we begun importing them from Norway in 1991 (when it was still largely unknown in the UK) is has become the world’s biggest selling chair having sold over 12 million globally. Children haven't changed and we still think its one of the best chairs ever designed.

Movement, Movement, Movement:

Often counter intuitively a fidgety child may very well fidget less when encouraged to move by sitting on an inflatable seat wedge cushion. You see we all like to move, in fact we are made to move. Therefore, any sitting position that encourages ‘movement’ is great.

Combine ‘movement’ and ‘knees below hips’ and you have the ‘Move n ’Sit Junior cushion’

The Move 'n' Sit Air Cushion is trusted by hundreds of teachers and occupational therapists throughout the UK.

The Move 'n' Sit is an air-filled seat wedge that is similar to sitting on a Gym Ball (or balloon). Used when sitting in a chair, the wedge shape and unevenness of the cushion adds an element of instability, keeping your body in motion and enhancing stomach and back muscles. It is designed to promote active sitting.

25x25cms (for an infant school size chair)
8º degree angle

So why is it so important to have the knees lower than the hips when in an active sitting position?

It's been known for years that sitting on a sloping wedge improves posture. And its been known for even longer that writing and reading is best at a slope of about 15 degrees.

Simply put when your knees are lower than your hips your spine goes into a nice ‘S’ shape. In this position your Pelvis can not rotate and therefore it is physically very difficult to slump.

Finally for homework (there’s going to be a lot that!) why not give the Varier Variable Kneeling Chair a shot? It both moves and as the word ‘kneeling’ implies automatically places the knees lower than the hips. They can be bought with additional ‘Distance Blocks’ to bring the Knee Pads closer to the child’s knees/shins.

The Varier Variable is Back in Action’s bestselling kneeling chair. It's a beautiful chair and a good investment for a life of healthy sitting. If purchased for a child, it will last them to adulthood.

It's fun to learn to control the chair and the younger the sitter the quicker the skill builds up. Greater fitness follows. It can be used from kitchen table to bedroom, it's light and strong and has a seven-year kid proof guarantee.

Have you ever noticed how a child chooses to sit when given the freedom to do so? 

If you have you will notice that they will either squat if on the floor or perch on the edge of a seat dropping their knees. It’s comes compeltely naturally, is healthy and we should avoid the temptation to drill it out of them drilled out of them later in life. “Prevention really is better than cure”

Our research shows that Children above 8 are starting to be slumped and passive, and it can become a habit... just as it has for most of our adult customers with back pain!!!!

  • So above 8 years and through adulthood the chairs should encourage and enhance movement and natural balance.
  • A rocking kneeling chair is our perfect match for a ten year old through to teendom.
  • For A-levels and higher level studies the sitting time can become outrageous and its vital to keep as much movement as possible.
  • The actulum is really popular if money allows.  Or use a gadget to modify chairs.
  • We make a great posture pack for example and other options exist.
  • Our belief is that movement is more important than posture for growing bodies ... so make the chair move.
  • If you are interested in children's seating options Click Here