If you are a parent, teacher, carer, or have any involvement in looking after young children we salute you. Whether you take care of children in a professional capacity or personal, it is certainly not easy. Not only are you dealing with the demands of keeping them safe and well, you are also dealing with the stress it puts on your own body. From bending down, to kneeling on the floor, to sitting on small chairs, to carrying the child, it is likely you will be moving in all directions, which can be a workout in itself and have a negative impact on your spine! But you will probably agree, despite the challenges it can bring, looking after children can be a real joy and we don’t want frustrating aches and pains to dampen that experience. Which is why this week we share 5 Top Tips you can implement to keep your spine well and body feeling youthful whilst looking after children: 1. Keep things close Reaching down is inevitable when taking care of a child, but be sure to bend your knees when doing so and keep things close to your body. This will help to reduce the strain through your spine. For example, if you are reaching down to pick up the child, bend your knees and gently brace your glutes and stomach muscles, which will help to keep you stable and protect your spine. If you are sitting down with the child on a chair for example, avoid leaning forward excessively by bringing the activity as close to your body as possible. 2. Alternate sides If you have ever observed someone carrying a young child, you may have noticed that they carry them to one side on their hip, which pushes their opposite hip away, creating a curve through their body, almost ‘C’ shaped. If this posture is sustained it can create tension through the lower back and pelvis. To try and counteract this, we would suggest alternating which side you carry them on. It may feel strange at first but it’s certainly worth persevering with. 3. Stand up and look ahead When you are taking care of someone smaller than you it’s natural to be looking down frequently, but unfortunately this can put tension through your spine, resulting in symptoms such as neck pain and headaches. As often as you can try and reset your posture by standing up and looking ahead. A gentle march on the spot can assist even further to recalibrate your body. 4. Keep hydrated We know we emphasise the importance of hydration often and we promise it’s for good reason! Not only will it help to keep your energy levels up and allow you to think clearer so you can deal with the daily demands, but it will help your whole body too, including your spine and supporting structures. Keep a water bottle nearby as a reminder and sip away. Whether you are in the classroom, in nursery, or at home, don’t forget your health is just as much a priority as the little one you are caring for. 5. Be proactive when on your own When you get a moment to yourself, we would recommend to do what you can to look after your body. Be mindful of your posture so your body is in a neutral position as often as possible. Don’t worry, this does not require you to walk around like a robot! It can involve simple things like holding your phone up so you look ahead instead of down, sitting up straight in a chair with both feet on the ground instead of twisted and crossed legged, and doing daily exercises or stretches to support your body and increase resiliency (if you need tailored advice with this, please ask). We hope you find this information helpful and feel free to share it with anyone you feel may benefit. As mentioned previously, if you need tailored guidance we are happy to help. The content of this blog is for educational purposes and is not intended to offer personal medical advice. You should seek the advice of a qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this blog.
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