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Healthy Posture for Babies and Children

Tools for Helping Children to Sit, Stand, and Walk Naturally

Foreword by Peggy O’Mara

A manual for parents, teachers, and kids to restore their natural alignment

• Explores the principles of natural alignment in accessible ways to share with children

• Details simple and fun exercises--for kids and adults alike--that “remind” the body of its natural patterns and movements

• Explains how innate movements and natural alignment play an essential role in the development of a fully functioning body and nervous system

Babies and toddlers develop naturally healthy alignment by moving in instinctive ways. Their posture is easy and relaxed, founded on correct pelvic positioning and deep core muscles to hold their bodies upright. Yet, as evidenced by the slouching epidemic seen in school-age children, most kids lose this natural alignment early in life, often due to an overreliance on strollers, baby seats, and bucket-style carriers during infancy and the reluctance to put babies on their bellies because of widespread fear of SIDS.

In this richly illustrated manual for parents, teachers, and kids themselves, movement educator and researcher Kathleen Porter explains how to relearn natural alignment with a simple movement routine that “reminds” the body of its natural patterns. Detailing the principles of natural alignment in accessible ways to share with children, she also explores research on the importance of “tummy time” and how the movement patterns present at birth act as an engine that activates neural pathways to key areas of the brain. In this way, movement plays an essential role in the development of a fully functioning nervous system, coordinated muscle tone, and a strong, internal core that stabilizes the spine and prepares the baby for the soon-to-be-acquired upright position. The author explains how many children who struggle with a growing number of neurodevelopmental challenges, including autism, learning disabilities, and ADHD, also exhibit poor muscle tone, lack of core development, and difficulties with balance and coordination.

With a multitude of easy-to-follow principles and exercises--far more fun and effective than the futile mantra of “sit up straight”--Kathleen Porter provides a detailed road map for parents, teachers, and health professionals to learn how to guide children back to their natural posture by inhabiting their bodies mindfully for a lifetime of easy movement, strength, and energetic vitality--the hallmarks of enduring good health.

Kathleen Porter is the director of the Center for Natural Alignment in Portland, Oregon. She offers programs for people with posture-related pain and for children and teachers in classrooms. She has taught principles of natural alignment at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon, and the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

“Kathleen Porter has so clearly addressed some of the major issues affecting both children and adults today and how to alleviate them through natural spinal alignment and movement. She shares the current research on SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), hyperactivity, the autism spectrum, and physical decline in age with practical, scientifically validated healthy postures that assist attention, optimal learning, health, and ease of movement for a lifetime. I am highly impressed with her knowledge and clear graphics that make this a must-read book for everyone.”

– Carla Hannaford, Ph.D., biologist and author of Smart Moves

“Human beings of every age can benefit from this book. Our eyes marvel at Porter’s outstanding photos, as our bodies adjust, relax, and align with these easy-to-use tools. Kathleen Porter skillfully explains why belly-to-earth movements are enormously important for babies and why our miraculous natural development is worth safeguarding. This book is a treasure--beautiful, practical, and inspiring.”

– Sonia Story, creator of the Brain and Sensory Foundations course

“In Healthy Posture for Babies and Children, author Kathleen Porter continues to advocate for change in our increasingly sedentary society by eloquently explaining the importance of creating opportunities for natural movement beginning in infancy (and throughout our lives) to encourage cognitive and motor development and a keen awareness of our physical body as we grow. This awareness cultivates a solidly strong, naturally upright posture, optimizing everything from breathing, digestion, intelligence, and behavior. Through her guided exercises, Porter empowers us and transports us back in time to retrace our own movement journey to reclaim some of the strength and resilience of our youth.”

– Sharon A. Vallone, D.C., F.I.C.C.P., pediatric chiropractor

“Healthy Posture for Babies and Children is front and center in my treatment room and is the first book I share with all of my patients suffering from any type of musculoskeletal pain. Kathleen uses visually stimulating examples and easy to comprehend text, which immediately enthralls while educating. When you find yourself in these pages, the proverbial “lightbulb” will come on; you will have the key to understanding how to correct the biomechanical stress in your body. This book should be in the hands of every doctor, teacher, and parent.”

– Donna Beck, N.D., founder of A Family Wellness Center

More books from this author: Kathleen Porter