correct desk & chair positioning children

Does Your Child’s Desk Actually Fit Them? Check These Two Things

Sage Kearney

December 10, 2020

I think it’s pretty safe to say that learning – how we learn & where we learn especially – looks different than what it did a few years ago. More & more students are trading classrooms for bedrooms, kitchen tables, or even the couch! I’m not here to talk about which learning environment is better or worse, but let’s face it, learning virtually isn’t the same. So, how can we bring all of the benefits of the normal classroom setting into our virtual learning environments?

A great place to start is literally where your child is sitting. By the end of this post, you will understand the importance of proper desk & chair positioning & be able to make any changes needed to meet your child’s needs & maximize their learning environments.

When it comes to maximizing your student’s learning, whether it be in person or online, proper desk and chair position are essential. Properly positioning your child’s desk and chair will help them stay focused, pay attention, and write neatly.

There are two areas that I always check when it comes to determining proper positioning for the students I work with –

Body Positioning

To start, take a look at your child when they are sitting in their chair. You want their feet to be flat on the floor, with ankles, knees and hips at approximately 90 degrees.

Desk Height

Next, I would like you to take a look at your child when they are sitting & pushed up to their desk or work space. We want the top of the desk/work space to be slightly above the bottom of their ribcage or (with their elbows bent) 2-3 inches above the elbow.

Sounds pretty easy, right?

Maaaybe not.. Perhaps your child’s chair is too tall and they have to sit closer to the edge of their seat to reach the floor. Or your child could have a long torso and their desk does not reach the bottom of their ribcage.

In these situations, you could experiment with using different chair accessories or alternative seating options.

 If your child’s chair is too tall –  

I’ve seen teachers use bungee cords and pool noodles to make a footrest that is attached to the chair legs. Rocker boards, cushions and old telephone books (do they still exist?!) can also be used under the desk to support the feet.

 If your child’s desk is not tall enough –  

Try propping up the desk on wooden boards or even look into buying longer legs from a home improvement store to replace the current legs with. Keep in mind as you problem solve & experiment with other solutions that you don’t want the desk to become wobbly. In some instances, perhaps it would be better to try out a new workspace somewhere else in the house, or if you have the resources, purchase a new desk that will fit your child.

When it comes to non traditional learning environments, it is vital our students have the proper desk & chair positioning to ensure they are getting the most out of their learning experience. We want to make sure their ankles, knees, & hips are at a 90 degree angle, & that their desk comes up to just above their ribcage (or 2 – 3 inches above their elbows, when bent).

If this isn’t the case for your little virtual learner – no worries! You can easily get creative & use things like cushions, books, and pool noodles to make adjustments to ensure your child has the perfect fit.

I would love to hear all about your child’s workstation set up – where is your child’s virtual classroom set up? what adjustments have you made? What’s working? What’s not? Let us know in the comments below!

When it comes to maximizing your student’s learning, whether it be in person or online, proper desk and chair position are essential.

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