You see it every day in the classroom. Kids slouched down at their desks, legs out in the aisles, head propped up on their hand, and maybe even falling right out of the chair.
Why do kids slouch so much in their seats?
There are many reasons for the slouched posture that you see when you glance up and down the rows of desks in any classroom: boredom, attention, distraction, or fatigue are probably the culprits.
But sometimes, there is an underlying reason behind the slouched posture that kids use day after day at school.
Sometimes there is a sensory reason.
Posture, Sensory Processing, and the Classroom
Why do Kids Slouch in their Seats? A Sensory Reason!
How to Help Kids Sit with Better Posture in the Classroom
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- Movement seats like a disk cushion are great for allowing movement for improved attention.
- Wobble Seat uses the idea of a therapy or stability ball in the form of a stool. This is great for classroom use because the giant therapy balls tend to roll away from desks.
- Try this super frugal seating version that you can DIY and use to cushion the whole classroom.
- Allow kids to lay on the floor for some activities. Yep, right in the classroom! A towel draped on the floor or a yoga mat can be a softer surface for hard classroom floors. Laying on the floor provides proprioceptive input and provides stability through the upper body and shoulder girdle. Add a few bean bags chairs or pillows to the classroom for lounging and reading centers. These can be just the movement and heavy work break that is needed (and CAN fit into the educational curriculum of the day) to allow for better posture when seated at a desk.
- Try a slanted table surface. There are a lot of slant boards on the market. Or, you can make your own DIY version to save money.
- Take a quick check on desk and chair size. The feet should touch the floor. Add a cardboard box, taped phone books, or have the custodial department make a wooden base for feet under the desk. Other options include a very slightly slanted surface.
- Try adding a non-slip surface to the seat of the chair. Use a square of dycem or a piece of no-slip shelf liner material for a frugal option.
You may also be interested in the free printable packet, The Classroom Sensory Strategy Toolkit.
Fidgeting Tools for the Classroom
Adapted Seating Strategies for the Classroom
Self-Regulation in the Classroom
105 Calm-down Strategies for the Classroom
Chewing Tools for Classroom Needs
45 Organizing Tools for Classroom Needs
Indoor Recess Sensory Diet Cards
Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.