I looked at my son playing a game on his phone and I was shocked at what I saw. This wasn’t about what he was playing or an inappropriate pop-up. It wasn’t even about how much screen time he had. When I saw my son, I couldn’t believe how he was sitting.

His neck and shoulders were hunched forward, his face close to the phone as his fingers moved across the screen. Before I could even think of what it reminded me of, I caught my reflection in the window and saw I was hunched forward, and I wasn’t even working at my computer.

With increased screen time both at home and school, kids need help with their posture now more than ever. Even young kids and toddlers can suffer from poor posture. National Posture Month is the perfect reminder to implement some small changes that can make a big difference in kids’ posture. Better yet, do it as a family and everyone will be standing straighter in no time!

First things first, rule out a medical issue.

Routine exams from the pediatrician and scoliosis screenings from the school nurse are an important part of your child’s postural health. These trained medical professionals will look for any indication of spinal abnormality as well as other posture issues in hips, gait and more. Have a conversation with the doctor at your child’s physician about any potential concerns.

Let them move.

This starts with even the youngest kids. Opportunities to move and be mobile help kids develop the muscles they need for proper movement and posture. Movement habits are being developed even in the diaper-wearing years. Giving kids opportunities to move around is essential for their development.

Keep them moving.

As kids get older, there is a tendency to become more sedentary. This is especially true with increased time in school. Make sure your kids take movement breaks whenever they can, even if it’s just to stretch. The opportunity to stand up, stretch and get back to work provides a reset for the body that can remedy the slouching that comes with time.

Sit well.

Different seating options can help with posture issues. Using backless chairs forces kids to strengthen the back and torso muscles, which is better for their posture. Alternatively, dynamic sitting using balance chairs or exercise ball seats is another way to engage the muscles that help with posture.

Line it up.

Alignment is key when working on electronics or watching screens. Make sure that the screen is at the right height so your child won’t be slouched over. If you suspect it is an issue in school, ask the teacher about it and suggest stacking some books under their computer to ensure the screen is at eye level.

Move around.

Incorporate longer movement times in the day. Typically, after 30 minutes of sitting, people should get up and move around for some time to foster healthy movement. This can be a longer stretch break, a different activity or some active time.

Get the right backpack.

Carrying a backpack that doesn’t fit well or is overloaded can be a strain on kids’ backs. More than just uncomfortable, it can result in posture issues throughout the day and beyond. Ensure that your child’s backpack fits well, resting evenly on their shoulders with the straps adjusted so the pack sits at or above their hips. If your child has more to carry, try using a second bag to hold rather than adding more to the backpack.

Teach them about their body.

Help kids understand their body and how it functions well. Yoga stretches for kids are a great way to raise awareness and provide opportunities to stretch. Helping kids picture their body as being well-grounded on their sits bones and pulling up through the top of the head will teach them to lengthen their spine without being forced into a rigid position.

Involve the family.

Make good posture about good body movement for the whole family. You can even come up with a secret family signal to remind one another to get up and stretch or pull that head up and shoulders back. The more you do together, the more likely it is to stick.