The best sitting position for handwriting
Learning to sit correctly at a table for handwriting type activities is not just important for developing a physically comfortable and maintainable sitting position; it also allows the arms and hands to move freely and enables the paper to be tilted and positioned correctly, helping to improve the quality of the handwriting.
Learning how to sit correctly, so that it becomes second nature, needs training and takes time. Many children do not sit correctly at a desk, when they are asked to do so, because they have not been taught or do not understand what they are meant to do.
Some children find sitting correctly at a desk difficult because they have not acquired all the gross motor skills needed to sit correctly for long periods of time. These children may require additional posture base and bilateral coordination games and activities to help them build the appropriate gross motor skills.
The key elements for sitting comfortably at a desk when handwriting
Tips on providing a child with the best sitting position for handwriting
- In school sit a left-handed child on the left of a right-handed child so they can both write freely without knocking into each other.
- If the table height is too high for a child try using a booster seat or cushions to raise them up so that their bent elbow is about 5 cm above the table.
- If the table height is too low you could use blocks or bricks to raise the table to a more suitable height (making sure that the table is secure and cannot slip off the blocks).
- If a chair is too high for a child try using a plastic box or step for them to rest their feet on.
- If the chair is too deep for a child when they sit right back in it, try propping cushions up behind them, some children may not find this comfortable so just do the best you can with the furniture you have.
- The main aim is to be able to push the chair under the table so that when a child is sitting correctly they are close to the table but not touching it with their tummy. Their elbows should rest comfortably on the table while leaning slightly forward to form a triangle position which encourages the child to use the supporting hand (non-writing hand) to move the paper up the table when writing.