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Natural Awakenings Greater Boston - Rhode Island

Ergonomic Help for Virtual Learning

Mar 31, 2021 09:31AM ● By Catie McArdle
Virtual learning has put struggles on everyone in the family, both physically and mentally. Kids are not accustomed to staring at the computer screen for hours at a time. They are struggling due to not seeing friends. Getting time between classes to walk around, enjoy recess and physical education, or walk down to lunch were breaks that were taken for granted and now no longer exist. In addition, most kids are not participating in sports like they were used to several times a week. Poor ergonomics and posture while sitting are contributing to spinal health issues and degenerative issues that normally would not show up for another 15 to 20 years.

Every student’s situation is different, but here are some ideas that might be helpful:

Make a workspace for them so they are not on the couch or in bed hunched over the laptop or tablet. Sitting in a firm chair with feet on the floor and the screen at eye level could prevent neck pain or headaches from leaning forward and having their head down. Having a separate workspace will also put them in a better frame of mind to concentrate on their schoolwork.

If you find your child is getting antsy, have them stand while working, setting up the computer at a different height on some boxes or a tray table. Better yet, maybe walking on a treadmill while listening to a lecture may be what a child needs.

Give blue light blocking glasses a try if you find your child is complaining of headaches or straining at the computer.

Sitting on a physio ball will also help get the “wiggles” out. They will sit with better posture, and they will have to engage their core and certain postural muscles to stay on the ball.

Eat lunch and snack outside. Wear layers if cold. Getting fresh air and sunshine triggers an immediate serotonin release and is a huge mood-booster.

Find a pod of classmates to have virtual or outdoor study sessions with.

Make gym class a priority every day. If you can’t get out for a walk, there are plenty of 20-minute virtual yoga or stretching classes for any level.

Try some quick meditation sessions, which would be great for everyone in the family.

With our help, students can be the healthiest they can be during a challenging academic year.

Dr. Catie McArdle is a chiropractor at McArdle Chiropractic, a family practice located at 2220 Plainfield Pike, in Cranston, RI. For more information, call 401-383-3400 or visit