Occupational Therapist Shares Practical Strategies for Distance Learning
Students across the northwest metro could find themselves sitting for long periods of time during distance learning, which can be a concern. Beth Fredrickson, a pediatric occupational therapist with M Health Fairview, said parents should pay attention to their student’s posture.
“Being sure a child is sitting with 90-degree angles, is kind of the big thing to be thinking about,” said Fredrickson.
She said kids should have their feet flat on the floor while knees, ankles, hips and elbows are bent at a 90-degree angle.
Table height also matters. Fredrickson said you don’t want your child’s shoulders too high up. Wrists should also be nice and straight. Fredrickson suggests having different kinds of seating including stools and exercise balls. She advises kids to stretch, make movements and stand up when they can.
As for tablets and laptops, it should be eye level.
“Anytime we’re down here holding something right? My shoulders are hunched forward, my necks down, I don’t have great posture here at all,” explained Fredrickson.
She added that families don’t have to buy products to have a good work space. Just using stacked books can help boost a tablet or settle dangling feet.
While all these methods can help prevent neck, shoulder and back strains, Fredrickson said the same methods can help kids pay attention.
“A lot of children I see in therapy, it’s been more of an issue of I can’t get them to sit down and stay and pay attention and not wonder off,” she said. “That’s where taking breaks, getting up, moving around helps, but that also helps decrease pain.”
Fairview is offering video visits to see students work space and give suggestions.