Video: Handwriting posture and seating advice

Handwriting posture and seating advice video
A step-by-step video guide to establishing a good seating position for comfortable handwriting, with expert advice from the National Handwriting Association and an explanation of why postural stability is vital for children.

The correct posture is essential for good handwriting. Occupational Paediatric Therapist Catherine Elsey from the National Handwriting Association explains why postural stability is so important and gives parents a step-by-step guide to correcting and improving the way a child sits to write.

How to sit correctly

Good handwriting depends on far more than just the position of your child's hand; the way they hold their entire body plays a part, too. 

Common problems with children's posture when writing include:

  • Slouching, with the spine rounded
  • Sitting on an adult chair with the feet dangling, or wrapped around the chair legs
  • Swinging on the back or front legs of the chair
  • Resting their arm on the desk, and their head on their arm
  • Sitting a left-handed child on the right of a right-handed child, so their arms clash

Poor posture when writing means that your child's body has to work extra hard to maintain stability. This causes excess muscle strain and effort, and can make handwriting uncomfortable and more difficult. 

The best posture for handwriting involves your child:

  • Sitting with a straight, extended back: tell them to imagine someone is pulling upwards on a string connected to the top of their head
  • Sitting with their feet flat on the floor, not dangling. If their feet can't comfortably reach the floor, put a box just in front of the chair for them to rest their feet on
  • Sitting with their ankles, knees and hips all at 90 degrees

This position gives your child optimum core strength and stability, and makes handwriting more comfortable.