Dr. Gabriella Rivera and The Impact of Virtual Learning

Written By: Dr. Gabriella Rivera @more.than.physical.therapy

Have you considered the impact of virtual learning for your 4-7 year old?

Increased screen time and sitting can lead to early posture problems for our children. The decreased ability to participate in play, P.E., recess, and imaginary play with friends increases sitting and inactivity in our children. 

It is recommended that children, between the ages of 4 and 7, exercise at least one to three hours a day at least three days a week. Exercise for this age range looks different than older groups because they are learning about spatial awareness and learning how to plan and coordinate their movements. Muscle strength and flexibility is influenced through play which in turn greatly influences growth spurt pains that can start as early as 8 years of age.

As a physical therapist, I am seeing an increase in neck pain, low back pain, upper back pain and headaches in children as young as seven year old. The common factor in these cases is decreased activity and increased screen time including tablet use, video games, television, and computer use. 

It is important to note that at the age of 8, scoliosis can be identified, indicating this postural deformity may start to develop at the age of 7. There is often no known cause of scoliosis with some indicators pointing toward genetics while others pointing to prolonged postural positions. 

During the era of digital learning, social distancing, and shelter in place it is important for parents and guardians to encourage exercise, movement, and stretching for even our youngest children. You can find simple stretches and exercises to encourage movement and better postural alignment here. 

Exercise Recommendations by Dr. Gabriella Rivera, Physical Therapist

For additional information on posture and interventions for 4-7 year old children please refer to my course specifically made to educate parents on this topic here. 

To support military families I have created a discount code: morethan25 for this specific posture course.

Sign up for my email list to get notifications on posture related topics for 8-11 year olds, 12+, teachers, office/desk workers, and other professionals as well.

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