Recently at Back to School Night, one of my daughter’s 11th grade teachers underlined the importance of nightly homework. “That means the heavy text book has to go back and forth every single day, I know, I know, your child’s back will be ruined before college,” she joked.
Except you can take that teacher and multiply her by the five other teachers my daughter has this semester, and none of them are trying to embrace alternatives to this back breaking scheme.
We all know the issue. It doesn’t take a rocket scientists to engage on the detriment of carrying heavy things, but it does take the weight of a rocket scientist’s text books. The acceptable weight on a child’s back according to the American Academy of Pediatrics is 10-20% of their total body weight, but this number is often abused.
ABC News recently reported that not only are children’s musculoskeletal systems at risk with disproportionate weight on the back, but the strain may impact other organs such as the heart and lungs, according to Dr. Jonathan Schaffer, an orthopaedic surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.
This issue seems almost caveman to me, considering most schools are moving more and more information online. But not homework, it would seem. And I understand the need to consider the technology available to each child once home. But even in my daughter’s school which is public, there are already digital expectations in place, such as downloading assignments when home sick.
Until such time this issue is completely rethought, consider the following ten tips to help reduce the weight of your child’s backpack.