How Social Groups Can Help Your Child Navigate Friendships

Making friends involves an array of complex skills, from taking turns, to initiating interactions, considering others’ perspectives, negotiating, problem-solving, repairingKids Group communication breakdowns, and being flexible. For many children, these skills can be incredibly challenging, often resulting in difficulty with making friends.

What are the benefits of social groups?

Social groups are designed to help children develop and practice social skills in a supportive therapeutic setting. Many children lack the necessary skills to navigate peer relationships. Social group therapy directly teaches and practices any specific social skills a child may be struggling with. For example, research has documented that children with language-impairments often have difficulty verbally initiating peer interactions. Research has also well-documented that social group therapy can increase verbal initiation for children with language impairments. Social groups have also been found to improve skills such as:

• Greetings

• Nonverbal communication (e.g. understanding facial expressions)

• Turn-taking

• Cooperative play

• Dealing with confrontation and rejection

• Flexibility and sharing

• Initiating and joining in play

• Building confidence with peers

• Listening to others

• Problem-solving and negotiation

• Verbally communicating with peers

Should my child attend a social group?

Your child should attend a social group if you have any concerns with their ability to interact with peers. Additionally, social groups can also be a proactive way to prepare your child for social settings ahead of time. For example, a “kindergarten-readiness group” is an excellent way to encourage your child’s social skills prior to the first day of school.

Here are a few indicators that your child may benefit from a social group:

• Your child’s teacher often reports difficulties interacting with peers at school

• Your child seems to avoid interacting with other children

• You notice frequent conflicts during play dates or interactions with other kids

• Your child feels afraid or refuses to attend social gatherings (e.g. play-dates, birthday parties)

• Your child has difficulty being flexible during play activities (e.g. sharing others’ ideas, winning or loosing)

• Your child has difficulty joining in play or initiating interactions with other kids

• Your child uses physical actions instead of words to communicate with others (e.g. grabs a toy instead of asking, pushes others instead of verbalizing how they feel)

• Your child has had less opportunities to interact with age-matched peers

Last but not least, trust your intuition. If you are worried about your child’s ability to navigate friendships, then consider signing your child up for a social group. Contact a licensed therapist with questions or concerns to gain more information about whether or not your child may benefit from social group therapy. Social groups can also be an excellent way to prepare your child for school or camp ahead of time.

What is the next step?

If you think your child may benefit from a social group, contact our Family Child Advocate who can answer your questions and connect you with a licensed therapist. For more information, click the Social Skills button below:

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How To Help Your Child Adjust To A New Routine, Classmates Or Classroom

We all know children respond best to routine and schedules, but it is also very important to teach your child to be flexible with change. Throughout a child’s life they will be placed in new situations and they will frequently find themselves having to change their routine and schedules, there is no avoiding it! There are ways to make it easier for your child so they can adjust to change and learn to be flexible.

Tips to Help Your Child Adjust to a New Routine

The Earlier the Better:

Start introducing your child to change as soon as you can! The more exposure they have to it, the better equipped they will be at handling it appropriately and effectively. If your child is used to change, it won’t be a big deal when it occurs in everyday life.

Plan For Positive Changes:

Pair changes with good outcomes as frequently as you can! You want to make sure you don’t allow your child to think that change results in a negative outcome. Create changes from time to time so your child is used to it and make sure that the change results in something that may be more fun or exciting. As much as we wish this were always the case, there will be times you have no control and that is why it is important to create situations that allow change to be a good thing, rather than a bad. This way if there happens to be a situation that leads to a negative outcome your child won’t always correlate change with bad.

Create Schedules:

Always create a schedule with them that emphasizes exactly what their new routine or schedule will look like. This allows the child to know in advance what they will be doing and reduces some of the anxiety they may be feeling of not knowing.

Plan New Play-dates:

If your child is meeting new classmates, create a little get together in advance so your child has the chance to meet them in a comfortable, familiar setting such as their home or a familiar park. This again will reduce some anxiety of meeting new people in a new place. The idea is to familiarize your child with as much as you can in a comfortable setting to avoid overwhelming them too much.

Visit The School:

If your child is going to a new classroom, set up visits to the school so they can visit the classroom and teacher a few times before school starts. This will familiarize him with the school and classroom so they can focus on making new friends, rather than learning where they are.

Practice New Routines:

If you are changing a routine, walk through all of the steps involved in the routine ahead of time so your child is prepared. For example, if your child is going to start taking the school bus as their routine to go to school, set them on a schedule to be ready for the bus a week before school starts and practice with them what it will be like to take the bus. For example, review where the bus will pick your child up, drop them off, etc. This will create a sense of comfort for your child to know what the expectations are in the new routine. If necessary, create a little checklist for your child that consists of each step in the routine. This will increase their independence with the routine as well as their confidence in completing it.

 

Beyonce’s Baby News | What Even Famous People Need To Do When Expecting A Baby

So Beyonce and Jay-Z are finally going to be parents. They are the wealthiest entertainers with a lot of connections. They seem to be experts in the entertainment business and everything music, but they are embarking on a whole new world. Do they have any knowledge on how to raise a baby or what normal development even looks like? No matter how famous Beyonce and Jay-Z are, they are still first time expectant parents.

Here are some tips on what research even rock stars need to do before bringing home baby!

1. Buy What to Expect When you are Expecting and What to Expect Your First Year and actually read it!  It details everything you, your partner and your baby will go through, month by month.

2.Google and learn about normal development and subscribe to a weekly email that reminds you what your baby should look like at every weekly stage.  www.Babycenter.com offers great weekly resources!

3. Log anything that looks or feels “odd” to you. Don’t wait. It never hurts to ask the doctor about something you are concerned or have questions about!

4. Find the best pediatrician for your family. Ask your friends, family and even co-workers who they go to. Find out who has proper bedside manner? Who returns calls fast? Who has a clean office?  You also want a proactive doc that will listen when you are concerned!
Most pediatricians allow expectant parents to come in and meet the staff and even “interview” the Doctors. Write down your questions beforehand and bring them with.

Sample Questions to ask the pediatrician are:

  • How often do you see a baby in the first year?
  • What is your policy on vaccines?
  • What are your weekend and sick hours?
  • Do you charge for after hour calls/walk-ins?
  • Do you see the pediatrician on well-visits or the nurse?

5. Play a lot of music for Baby in-utero and and even after birth and maybe you will raise another Beyonce or Jay-Z!

 

8 Tips for Talking to Young Children about Natural Disasters

Natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, and tornadoes can be frightening and concerning for adults, so imagine how confusing and scary they can be for young children! When talking to children about natural disasters, there is a fine line between honesty and explaining in an age-appropriate way and going into too much detail that can worry a child.

Here are 8 ways you can approach talking to your young child about natural disasters in a calm way: Natural Disasters Blog

 1. Assess what your child already knows (or doesn’t know).

• When a natural disaster occurs, children are likely to hear about it on television, at school, from friends, or through conversations taking place around them. Before talking to your child, ask questions to help you understand what she already knows. This will help you understand her concerns, questions, feelings and even her misconceptions.

2. Listen to you child’s questions.

  • Children will likely have many questions when a natural disaster occurs. “How does a thunderstorm happen? What happened to the people living in ________? Will it happen to us?” Normalize this curiosity and concern by saying things like “I can understand why you would want to know that. That’s a good question.”
  • After answering, check in with your child to make sure she understood. If your child still does not understand try different, but still concrete, easy-to-understand language, until your child grasps the concept

3. Be proactive.

  • Children will likely have many questions when a natural disaster occurs. “How does a thunderstorm happen? What happened to the people living in ________? Will it happen to us?” Normalize this curiosity and concern by saying things like “I can understand why you would want to know that. That’s a good question.”
  • After answering, check in with your child to make sure she understood. If your child still does not understand try different, but still concrete, easy-to-understand language, until your child grasps the concept

4. Use simple, clear, consistent language.

  • Children will likely have many questions when a natural disaster occurs. “How does a thunderstorm happen? What happened to the people living in ________? Will it happen to us?” Normalize this curiosity and concern by saying things like “I can understand why you would want to know that. That’s a good question.”
  • After answering, check in with your child to make sure she understood. If your child still does not understand try different, but still concrete, easy-to-understand language, until your child grasps the concept

5. Demonstrate calm.

  • Children often pick up on their parents’ feelings. If you seem panicked or anxious, your child is likely to react in similar ways. Model a calm, matter-of-fact demeanor to show your child that your family is safe.
  • If you need support yourself, don’t be afraid to reach out to family and friends. It can be helpful to have this kind of separate space to discuss your own emotions.

6. Reassure your child to help her feel safe.

  • When young children hear about a natural disaster and see images of destroyed homes, they may worry and wonder, “Will this happen here?” Assure your child that natural disasters are uncommon and that the chance of one occurring where you live is low.
  • Emphasize that natural disasters are no one’s fault, as your child may have anxieties about what could cause a natural disaster.
  • Inform your child of your family’s safety plan in case of a natural disaster. For example: Mommy and Daddy have a plan to keep us safe if there is ever a big tornado. We will all go to _______ in the basement and cover ourselves with a mattress to protect ourselves. Having earthquake/tornado/fire drills once per year can also reassure your child that if a natural disaster were to occur, she would be safe.

7. Be honest.

  • Honesty is key when answering questions. Some parents may want to keep some information from their children to protect them. They might say, for example: “No one died from the tornado” or “A storm like that would never happen here. This risks your child hearing about these details elsewhere. This could confuse your children and lead them to conclude that they cannot trust what you say.
  • If you do not know the answer to a question, do not hesitate to tell your child. You can even look for answers together, which can also help your child feel safe and comforted.

8. Explore your child’s feelings and provide validation and comfort.

  • Children may feel a variety of emotions after a natural disaster, such as fear, confusion, anxiety, guilt, and sadness. Some children may not openly talk about their feelings during this time, but that does not necessarily mean they are not thinking about it. When your child does share her feelings with you, provide empathy, acknowledgment, and validation.
  • In an effort to comfort their child, some parents may inadvertently minimize their child’s feelings by saying things like “You have nothing to be scared of.” A better alternative is to empathize with her feelings first and then offer reassurance. One example is: “I can understand why you would be scared that we might have a big earthquake. I want you to know that there is only a very small chance that an earthquake would happen here. And if something happens, we have a plan to keep us safe.”

NSPT offers services in Bucktown, Evanston, Deerfield, Lincolnwood, Glenview, Lake Bluff, Des Plaines, Hinsdale and Mequon! If you have any questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140!

Social Work

International Adoption and Speech-Language Development

According to the U.S. Department of State, approximately 11,059 children were adopted internationally in 2010.  Over 88% of these children were likely raised in an orphanage prior to their adoption (Johnson & Dole, 1999).  Research has well-documented that children raised in orphanage care are at a Baby Reaching Out Handhigh risk for language and developmental delays (Johnson, 2000).  For expecting parents, this may sound overwhelming and even intimidating.  However, research also says that adoption can often counteract the effects of orphanage care.  Understanding what the research says can be a liberating guide for parents as they support their child through the adoption process.  Knowing what to expect can reduce anxiety and empower parents to plan and prepare with confidence.

What Language Skills Can Adopting Parents Expect?

  • Children who have spent time in orphanage care often show delayed language skills.  It’s important to know that delays are not just in the new language, but in their birth language as well.  These children may vocalize or babble less frequently, have limited vocabulary and use of phrases or sentences, show difficulty understanding spoken language, and have poor speech clarity.
  • Most children raised in orphanage care have strong non-verbal social interaction skills.  This includes skills such as making eye-contact, using facial expressions, smiling at others, showing toys to adults, pointed to or reaching for desired toys, and pushing items away that they don’t want.
  • In most cases, language delays are a direct result of limited one-on-one interactions with adults while in orphanage care.  As children learn to speak, their sounds and words are reinforced by caregivers who model, respond and encourage language.  Without this individualized care, children’s communicative attempts become stalled.  Even in caring and well-equipped environments, less available adults per child will likely result in language delays.
  • It’s important to keep in mind that there are always exceptions.  While most language delays are a result of limited interaction with caregivers, some children might have underlying developmental disorders that are not a result of a orphanage care.  It’s important to seek guidance from a licensed speech-language pathologist to determine if your child needs intervention.
  • After adoption, children will likely loose their birth language quickly (unless their adoptive parents speak their native language).  The child’s birth language is likely to be lost before their new language is fully acquired.  During this period of time when language is temporarily arrested, a child might feel more frustrated when they can’t communicate effectively.
  • After adoption, children will quickly begin to acquire their new language.  In fact, research suggests that children adopted under the age of 2, often develop language skills that are within normal limits one year after adoption (Glennen, 2007).  Skills will continue to progress after the first year, although, the majority of language acquisition occurs during the initial year following adoption.

How Can Parents Help Their Child Develop Language Skills?

One of the most effective ways to counteract the effects of orphanage care is adoption.  Parents and caregivers play a critical role in helping their child develop communication skills.  Create a language-rich environment for your child, and enjoy one-on-one time together.  Here are specific ways to promote speech and language development in your toddler:

  • Play with your child!  Come down to their level, and sit face-to-face while you play.  Model, encourage and reinforce their communication while you play.
  • Encourage your child to imitate your actions, gestures and sounds. Make animal sounds or environmental noises (e.g. beep beep, moo moo, etc) or sing songs with gestures (e.g. Itsy Bitsy Spider, Wheels on the Bus, etc).
  • Label various objects and actions. Describe objects or actions in the environment, or read picture books while pointing to different pictures.
  • Narrate what is happening in the environment.  Use simple language to describe what you see or what people are doing (e.g. Bear is sleeping! Mommy is jumping!).
  • Play turn-taking games, such as passing a ball a ball back and forth or sharing a toy.
  • Reinforce your child’s communicative attempts by responding to and repeating what they say.

For more tips to encourage language development in toddlers, visit the blog “Encouraging Your Infant to Communicate“.

Oral-Motor and Feeding Difficulties in Young Children

All children are born hard-wired to eat. However, some children with poor oral motor skills may present with many challenges while feeding. Some children may appear to be “messy eaters”, but in reality, they may not have the strength to successfully close their lips around a spoon. Other kids may tend to rush through meals, however their oral awareness may actually be reduced and they may not even be aware of how much food is actually in their mouths. Therefore mealtimes may Young Girls Is A Messy Eaterprove to be difficult and frustrating for children, and equally as stressful for mom and dad.

Oral Motor And Feeding Red Flags

  • Lack of oral-exploration with non-food items as an infant
  • Difficulties transitioning between different textures of foods
  • Weaknesses sucking, chewing, and swallowing
  • Frequent coughing and/or gagging when eating
  • Vomiting during or after meals
  • Refusal to eat certain textures of foods
  • Rigidity with diet
  • Avoidance of touch on face and around mouth
  • Loss of food and liquids when eating
  • Obvious preference for certain textures or flavors of foods
  • Increased congestion during and after meals
  • Grimacing/odd facial expressions when eating
  • Consistent wiping of hands and face during meals
  • Pocketing of food in cheeks, or residue observed after swallow
  • Irritability and anxiety during mealtime
  • Excessive drooling and lack of saliva management
  • Sudden refusal to eat previously tolerated foods
  • Excessive weight gain or loss

Oral-Motor Skill Improvement

Fortunately, there are also many activities you can easily incorporate at home to facilitate improvements with oral-motor skills.

  • Blowing activities (blow-pens, instruments, whistles, etc.) help to improve posture, breath control, lip rounding, and motor-planning skills.
  • Infant massage may also help to increase oral-awareness and facial tone.
  • Straws, sour candies, and bubbles may help with drooling.
  • Constantly exposing your child to a variety of new foods will help to avoid food jags, and increase their tolerance to different textures and tastes.

If you notice that your child presents with some of the above-mentioned characteristics and does not seem to be improving, it would be advantageous to speak with a Speech-Language Pathologist about your concerns.

 

Facebook, Twitter, Texting: Are They Bad For Language Development?

The impact of social media on children is quite the hot topic these days! There is a lot of talk about what impact social media has on a child’s language development and many arguments support both sides. Some people believe that social media better helps develop a child’s language Baby Using A Laptopfunctioning, while others report that it does more harm than good.

In my opinion, the use of social media, either via the internet or text messaging, will not cause a regression in social and communication skills. In fact, I think that there are ways in which social media can actually aid in the development of these skills. Can such modes of communication actually help foster language development? I do not know; however, it is my belief that such interaction cannot harm a child’s language development.

Communication Practice

Let’s start by answering the question, “What is communication?” or rather “What is the purpose of communication?” We use communication to exchange information or ideas with other people. Language, on the other hand, is the means by which we engage in communication. Language begins to develop early on in life through interactions with people and the environment. Children learn and practice their communication skills with their family and peers; however, they also learn and practice their skills when utilizing different forms of social media. Computers and cell phones are inherently engaging to children. Once a child becomes motivated to complete a task, the child is able to engage in communication with peers. If children send instant messages, they still practice the reciprocity necessary to having a conversation. This form of communication can help a reserved or shy child develop confidence while simultaneously developing the rules necessary for social interaction.

Limitations

On the flip side, communicating through social media does not allow children to recognize non-verbal cues that are often required to fully interpret a message. For example, sarcasm is often identified based on tone of voice. If one person can’t hear what the other person said or if he can’t see the other person’s facial expression, the message may be misinterpreted. Also, because texting and instant messaging do not require an immediate response, you may lose some of the reciprocity that is essential to having a conversation.

Use in Moderation

The use of social media in this day and age is inevitable. Although its use may be helpful to the development of communication and language, it’s crucial that children are NOT solely reliant on such means of communication. Therefore, it is important to monitor how much time your children use social media. They should not be spending all of their time doing something that may not help their language development. Children still need the opportunity to engage in personal interactions in order to develop socially.

Note from the Author: This blog is not based on research or statistics, but rather on my own observations, interpretation, and experience.

The Dirty Little Secret on Poop – Tips For Children Who Won’t Use the Potty in Public or at School

As if potty training isn’t hard enough, there is also the challenge of having your child go to the washroom in public. Many children have increased anxiety when it comes to using a public restroom. There are several reasons that might cause your child to display this anxiety resulting in avoidance of using the bathroom. Below are some tips to help reduce your child’s anxiety and encourage them to use public restrooms.

Ways to Encourage Children To Change Behavior And Use Public Restrooms

Talk About It!

Address the problem that your child is having. Take the time to figure out why your child is having difficulties using public restrooms. Some possible things that might cause your child to be anxious are:

  • The toilet is different than the one at home
  • The toilet flushes differently (automatic vs. manual flush)
  • The water in the toilet bowl might be a different color (some places use the cleaners that make the water dark blue or even a green color)
  • The lighting in the restroom
  • The sounds fans make
  • The noises of the automatic air fresheners,
  • The germs – Yes, germs! You are probably thinking that kids aren’t concerned about germs, but that is actually not always the case.

Start talking to your child to identify what items in the restroom are causing their anxiety. If your child has difficulties saying exactly what bothers him or her about public restrooms, take field trips. When out and about in the community go into different restrooms and ask your child to tell you what it is that makes him or her uncomfortable.

Brainstorm Solutions and Try Them!

Try to come up with different solutions to help your child feel more at ease when using public restrooms. If certain noises in the restroom bother your child, let him use headphones or hold his ears to listen the noise. If he is scared about germs, put toilet paper on the seat before he  uses it. Let him know that toilets will be different, but that does not make them scary. Look at different toilets on the Internet and talk about them.

Create Positive Potty Time Stories!

Once you identify the problems and come up with solutions that make your child more comfortable to use the restroom, sit down and write a story together. Be sure to have your child help with this story as much as possible. Write out the things that scare him and then add the different things that help him calm down. The story should be used before going out to the community and can even be used right before the child needs to use the restroom as a reminder of what they will encounter.

Give praise!

When your child uses a public restroom, be sure to praise them. You want to make a big deal about this great accomplishment so that it will be more likely to happen again. Be sure to provide plenty of verbal praise, “Great job of using the bathroom! You are such a big girl/boy!”, “I knew you could do it! See, there was nothing to be scared of!”.When your child first starts using the public restroom, you can also give them little rewards. For example, if you are at his/her favorite restaurant he/she can pick an extra treat, at the toy store your child can pick out a new toy, or at the grocery store he/she can choose a favorite candy bar. These treats should not last forever but should be given heavily in the beginning and then sporadically, eventually completely fading out.

Listed below are some books that can help when potty training:

 What are your tips for helping ease the anxiety when your child uses a public restroom?

 

10 Ways To Use An Exercise Ball To Help Your Child Grow

I am sure many of you have either seen or used an exercise ball before, whether at your child’s therapy appointment or at your own session at the gym! Exercise balls are a simple and easy piece of “equipment” for you and your child to use at home in a variety of ways. Exercise balls help to strengthen the muscles; and increase endurance, motor planning, body awareness, and postural control. Exercise balls come in multiple colors and sizes, and really help to challenge balance and multi-tasking of the whole body.

1. Seated at the kitchen tableGirl With Exercise Ball

Have your child sit on an exercise ball during mealtime or homework time; make sure that your child’s feet are flat on the floor, with knees bent to 90 degrees, approximately hip-width apart; and remind your child to keep a tall posture with the shoulders relaxed and down, rather than rounded forward.

2. Seated on ball during television shows or video games

Have your child sit on an exercise ball while attending to a favorite television show/movie or while playing a video game, rather than lounging on the couch. Make sure your child is a reasonable distance from the television and furniture, and has a clear area around the ball in case balance is lost.

3. Standing back to back with a partner:

Have your child work on trunk rotation, visual skills, and timing by standing with a partner with their backs facing towards one another, a few feet apart; work on passing a ball from left to right, and then right to left. The larger the exercise ball, the harder this activity will be, as more upper body and trunk strength will be required.

4. Standing overhead ball reaches

Have your child stand hip-width apart while holding the exercise ball in his/her hands, tapping the exercise ball to the ground directly in front of feet, and then lifting the ball overhead towards the sky. Make sure to engage the abdominals by keeping them tight (e.g. as if someone was going to punch you in the stomach), which will also help to protect the back.

5. Inverted (upside down)

Have your child select a favorite board game, or use beanbags or other items to pick-up, while seated on the exercise ball. Place the game pieces or beanbags behind your child to retrieve. Slowly roll your child forward by holding onto his legs and have him get into an upside down position with head tipped over the exercise ball. Then have your child reach overhead with both arms for the game pieces or beanbags and return to a seated position in a slow and controlled manner, using the abdominals rather than momentum.

6. Prone (on stomach) for nose touches

Have you child lay his stomach over the exercise ball with feet on the floor spread more than shoulder width apart behind the ball and hands placed behind the head; lean forward touching your nose to the exercise ball (or as close as you can get) and then bring yourself back up, focusing on keeping your back straight, making a line with your entire body.

7. Prone (on stomach) for contralateral (opposing) limb extensions

Have your child lay on his stomach over the exercise ball with hands and feet touching the floor; next extend the right arm and left leg while keeping the other two limbs lightly resting on the ground for support; hold for 5-10+ seconds and then switch to left arm and right leg.

8. Supine (on back) for ball passes

Have your child lay down on his back on the floor or on top of a blanket or mat; place the exercise ball between feet, making sure to squeeze the exercise ball tightly with feet and legs and lower legs to floor; next raise legs off floor, above the torso, and grab the ball with hands; lastly lower legs together slowly and reach exercise ball overhead with arms. Do as many reps as possible in a slow and controlled pattern.

9. Supine (on back) for hip bridges

Have your child lay down on his back on the floor or on top of a blanket or mat; place heels on top of the exercise ball, with arms on the floor next to torso; next, raise hips and torso off of the floor and either hold as a static position for approximately 5-10+ seconds, or do repetitions by lowering the hips about an inch or two above the floor and then back to the sky again.

10. 4 point position (hands/knees) for child’s pose stretch

Have your child get into a hands and knees (puppy dog) position on the floor with the exercise ball directly in front of body; next lower hips/bottom towards heels and place arms on top of exercise ball to stretch forward overhead on the floor while lowering the head towards the floor as well.

 

5 Back To School Backpack Tips

School is just around the corner and back-to-school shopping is in full swing! One of the most important items to buy your child is a well-fitted backpack that will ensure proper posture and comfort. Backpacks that are too heavy, too low-fitting or worn just over one shoulder can hinder a child’s spinal alignment and cause muscle strains. It is not uncommon for backpacks to cause acquired scoliosis.

5 tips to keep in mind when buying your child their new backpack

  1. Make sure to choose a backpack that has two shoulder straps. This way, weight is distributed evenly between both sides of the body. One-shoulder packs may be stylish, but can lead to spinal curvature if packed too heavy.Blue Child's Backpack
  2. A backpack should fit snugly on the lower back and should never lay below 4 inches below the waist. This way, shoulder and back muscles are not strained and a child will be able to maintain correct posture when standing and walking. A child should be able to stand up straight and not round their back or shoulders when carrying their backpack.
  3. According to the American Occupational Therapy Association, a backpack should weigh no more then 15% of the child’s body weight. For example, a child weighing 100 pounds should not wear a backpack weighing more then 15 pounds.
  4. If the backpack is too heavy for the student, roller-bags are a good option. Make sure to check with school faculty to see if these are allowed within your child’s school. A heavier item, such as a large textbook, can be held in an arm instead of on the back if the backpack is too overloaded.
  5. Try to lead heavier items toward the back so that weight is evenly distributed. If certain items are not needed for the day, leave them at home to lessen the weight of the backpack.