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My son is 5 now. My wife and I started noticing that he had poor posture a couple of years ago, and it seems to have gotten worse. He slouches and rounds his back while sitting, and his shoulders always seem to be rolled forward. I'm really at a loss as to how or if I can encourage good posture. Our pediatrician told us (about a year ago) that he has no bone abnormalities. It seems he's just developed poor habits, probably to some degree influenced by myself.

When I see my son slouching, I will occasionally tell him to imagine that he is being pulled upward from a string in the clouds, because this is how ninjas sit (he idolizes ninjas currently). I prefer this to the "sit up straight with shoulders back" approach, because I think that can also lead to bad posture. However, what I've been trying seems not to have been working. I suspect there may be emotional/psycho-somatic issues at play.

Does anyone have any tips?

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  • Do you also give praise when he sits in a good posture of his own accord? May 21 at 6:41
  • @BartvanIngenSchenau. Yes, I try to focus on the positive. Unfortunately, this doesn't happen often.
    – David J.
    May 21 at 7:00
  • How active is the child? How would you say his muscle tone is compared to other similar-age children?
    – Joe
    May 21 at 15:00
  • @Joe. I'd said his activity level is about average - he plays outside a couple of hours a day, and we limit screen time to about 30 minutes a day, a few times a week. His muscle tone also seems about average, or perhaps slightly underdeveloped in some area (particularly upper arms and shoulders).
    – David J.
    May 21 at 16:41
  • Why do you think there may be emotional/psycho-somatic issues at play? It is more likely not to be the case unless something has happened recently. May 25 at 15:42
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I would try to get him interested in activities that improve his core muscles. Swimming would be my first approach. That way you can help him to fix his posture indirectly.

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encouraging it through indirect interest such as yoga and ballet is a good start, but like everything you have to also show the example.

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On top of the Yoga and Ballet idea from @JOduMonT getting your son to play as though he is a soldier and doing parade drills could help. Marching around with him, with shoulders back and chest out, pointing out that soldiers always stand straight will encourage him to mimic that.

The more he practices standing straight, the muscles in the back and shoulders which help with posture will become stronger and it will become more natural.

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  • His muscles may need to retrained as stated in this answer since his posture has been poor over several months.
    – paulj
    May 31 at 22:45

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