I’ve had some students come to my office with backpacks that weigh as much as they do! Well, perhaps I’m exaggerating a bit, but in all seriousness, backpacks should not weigh more than 10 to 15% of a child’s body weight.

So, how can you help your children keep ‘em light and pack ‘em right this school year?

  • Buy the right kind. This means children need to be involved in the selection process. Depending on their organizational style, kids may prefer different types of backpacks. Kids that are visual organizers might enjoy backpacks with colorful designs. Those who are spatial organizers tend to like backpacks that feel good and have extra padding and support. Chronological organizers generally gravitate toward backpacks with lots of pockets and compartments.
  • Purge! Help younger students empty and clean their backpacks once a week. Have older students schedule a time into their planner (preferably the same day each week) to go through their backpack, binders, folders, and papers. Help them recycle what is no longer needed and file papers to keep in a desktop file system.
  • Only carry what’s necessary for the day’s activities.
  • Pack it well! Place heavier, larger binders/books toward the back and lighter, smaller items toward the front to distribute the weight evenly and make it easier to find things.
  • Ditch the trash! Backpacks are not trash cans. I’m often amazed at the number of broken pencils, crumbled papers, food wrappers, old moldy food, and chewed gum at the bottom of some backpacks. Yuck!
  • Wear it right! Backpacks should be worn high on the upper back with both straps over the shoulders. They should not rest more than four inches below the waist. Use the waist belt if there is one. Wearing backpacks too low or over one shoulder can lead to neck, shoulder, and back pain, as well as postural problems.

About Skills 4 Life:

Skills 4 Life Pediatric Occupational Therapy offers a broad range of pediatric occupational therapy services to help your child master age-appropriate developmental skills, become more independent, increase academic success & develop confidence. The experts at Skills 4 Life specialize in handwriting, keyboarding & executive function coaching, but also work with children on social & emotional learning, motor skills, self-regulation strategies & activities of daily living. Skills 4 Life Pediatric Occupational Therapy offers your child a safe, compassionate environment to learn the critical skills they need to be successful. Learn more about our team & services at www.skills4lifeot.com, or you can contact our office by email at karina@skills4lifeot.com or by phone at 303.351.1828 for a free consultation.

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