Back to school, back to new habits?

With the new school year starting, our children are heading back to school with their heavy backpacks and hours of prolonged postures using computers, phones and iPads awaits.

It is in these early years that we need to focus on functional movement, postural control, strength and education and stimulate their rapidly developing neuromuscular systems.

And, as Joseph Pilates said in 1934; “In childhood, habits are easily formed – good and bad. Why not then concentrate on the formation of only good habits and thus avoid the necessity later on in life of attempting to correct bad habits and substituting them for good habits.”

Kids on their school uniforms

How can physiotherapy and Pilates help you child/ teenager’s body, mind and soul?


  • Can improve their strength, flexibility, balance, stability, coordination, posture, cardiovascular endurance, bone and joint health
  • For those children that are less active (current research shows that into early teenage years, girls more than boys tend to decrease or even cease “exercise”) functional physiotherapy and teen Pilates classes can provide an opportunity to exercise in a non competitive, safe and fun environment.
  • For those children who are competitively training, our services can complement their performance immensely. Goal specific cross training can aid in their mental focus, injury prevention and long term postural change (especially with one side dominant sports).
Kid using a mac


  • Improved concentration (through breathing control, holding positions and mindful movement that can in turn improve academic performance and self confidence)
  • Prevention of, or reduction of stress and anxiety in children, teenagers (and adults!)
  • Improved quality of sleep
  • Form healthy habits early in life that will carry on into adulthood


  • Group exercise provides social and emotional benefits for general well being
Little girl sitting and using an ipad

Bounce into 2020 with these back to school tips:

  • Electronic devices:
    • Limit use at least 1.5 hours before bed. Passive devices (eg. Kindle have less effects on sleep than interactive devices such as phones/ computers)
  • Ergonomic set up of computer, desk and iPad:
    • Your child’s posture should be neutral when using any device for a prolonged period (greater than 30 minutes). Ensure they do not have excessive bending in their back or neck and they are as supported by chairs/ pillowBack packs:Minimise weight where possible, pack heavier items closest to the back and always ensure both straps are worn over each shoulder- secured firmly to the back. Your child should not have a “forward head posture” meaning the bag should sit snug to their back and they should be able to stand upright with their head inline with their body.
Kids doing plank exercises
  • Family challenge
    • Set a goal within the family. Lee’s family are currently doing “the daily plank” where the family are holding their plank position every night before dinner
  • Foam rolling and ball massage:
    • Safe in children and teenagers with correct use. Ensure they are not self releasing over a joint line/ bony parts and that when they are rolling a muscle they are engaging their core to protect surrounding structures. Those with reduced postural awareness or hypermobility may need a physiotherapy assessment to educate safe use. We educate the safe use of these in our teen classes.
    • Your child should not be in pain. We strongly recommend that if your child or you are concerned about their posture or pain at any level of fitness that you book to see one of our physiotherapists to provide some strategies to improve this (may include home exercises/ stretches/ taping/ education/ gentle manual therapy/ assessment for Functional Physio or Teen classes).

We are also planning a teen movement workshop where we will be delving further into all of the above… watch this space!

Written by Lauren Charlton