Standing Desks Could Make Your Kid Love Going to School (a Little, Anyway)

If I can't get my kids to sit down and pay attention at home, I feel for their teachers. I send two energetic boys to school every day like brave little soldiers, marching off to disrupt someone else's day. My sons are sweet, lively, and funny -- they also happen to run me ragged by the end of the day. I can't imagine trying to corral an entire class. But experts say they have an answer to every teacher’s classroom-management prayer: standing desks for kids help students be more attentive.

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You don’t have to be a scientist to know that kids aren’t made to sit all day. But what you might not know: Kids think better and do better in school when they’re standing up. In fact, researchers found kids who used standing desks performed 12 percent greater in "on-task engagement" activities (an extra 7 minutes an hour of classroom time gained) than kids who sat at the old-fashioned sit-down kinds of desks.

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Already made popular in forward-thinking offices, a stand-up desk is just what you think. Kids stand at a desk, with a stool for extra support. They can shift, wiggle, and work their way through classroom lessons. The added bonus? Not only do these standing desks improve classroom engagement among fidgety children, they might help in the fight against childhood obesity. Kids using standing desks can burn 15 percent more calories than kids using traditional desks (and that’s up to 25 percent more calories for obese children).

And it’s not just academics and research types who are excited about the benefits of stand-up desks for kids. The organization StandUp Kids is on a mission to get standing desks in every public school within 10 years. Started by parents, who are also health and fitness experts, StandUp Kids considers this classroom change a necessary pushback to the "epidemic of sedentary lifestyles and inactivity" (read: video games and the like) among children, requiring kids to move more and sit less. On top of more obvious benefits, such as increased attention and reduced obesity, proponents say stand-up desks can reduce orthopedic problems in kids and improve their creativity.

Sounds great. But moms like me hate change.

What if this brand-new thing is a terrible flop? There's part of me that worries about the toll it could take on my kids to stand and listen all day at school. But then I remember what it was like to be a kid -- how hard it was to concentrate and how little I got to express myself at school -- and this concept makes perfect sense. Now that standing desks have been introduced, the alternative just sounds ridiculous.

If I've learned one thing from being a parent, it's that kids need to be kids whenever possible. Half of the time my sons exhaust me, and the other half, I couldn't be prouder of the loud, wild, and openhearted little people they are. As hard as it may be to convince resistant parents of their value, I'm totally on board with standing desks for my kids. Any teaching tool that improves education by reaching kids on their level gets an "A" in my book.

 

Bethany Ramos is an editor, blogger, and author. She lives in Texas with her husband and 2- and 3-year-old sons, but her heart is in Colorado.

Image © Ocean/Corbis 

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