*** The great folks at ErgoErgo offered me two KidsErgo seats for our son and daughter to test out. All opinions and wild-eyed kids are my own. ***
Our nine-year-old son was partial to crouching on his chair like he was squatting around a campfire cooking something he’d caught with his bare hands, instead of eating a perfectly normal meal with his family at the table.
Then he’d shake things up by tipping his chair back from the table so it was balancing on its two back legs, tilting his head closer and closer to the hardwood floor. That one really irritated my husband, who’d put on a particularly gruff “Dad voice” and bark that the chair had four legs for a reason.
Across the table, meanwhile, our seven-year-old daughter preferred to kneel on her chair. She’d hunch forward so far over the table that her long curls were constantly getting dragged through pools of noodles and getting dunked into her glass of milk.
It was one of those minor-but-annoying aspects of parenting that you never actually look into “fixing” because you don’t think there’s going to be a solution. The kids were too big to strap into booster seats (although my husband threatened to belt them to their chairs a few times) but too wiggly to sit normally in their chairs. It just seemed like something we had to live with.
I should probably point out that as a journalist and a blogger, I get hundreds of emails every day, and many of them don’t get opened — just schlepped straight into my archive because they’re not applicable to me on that particular day.
But when the folks at ErgoErgo emailed me about something called an “active sitting stool,” I immediately thought about my wiggly, squirmy kids and skimmed through the note.
The KidsErgo looked sort of like a spring. It was sort of like an exercise ball to improve balance and flexibility— remember when everyone was sitting on those? — except sturdier and not something that would suddenly roll across the room. It was winning parenting awards left and right for helping with stress reduction, decreasing hyperactivity and increasing focus.
Seconds after I read the email, I was tapping out a reply that we’d love to test them out. The kids couldn’t wait for them to arrive in the mail. (Our son picked the pink one and our daughter picked the dark blue one.)
From the first day they arrived, our son and daughter have used their KidsErgos at the table for every meal …
… and pulled them into the living room to sit on while they play video games.
They’ve also just goofed around on them because they’re fun.
Since the KidsErgos are just 15” tall, we can easily stack both of them out of the way when they’re not in use.
Sometimes they stay tucked under the kitchen table between meals, or the kids will take them up to their bedrooms since they hardly weigh anything.
These little seats aren’t cheap (about $98) but they’re also not your average stool. I chatted about the KidsErgos with the company’s CEO, Barbara Bluestone and she told me about what went into the ergonomic design.
“Children are happier and learn better when they can sit actively, and the KidsErgo helps them sit as nature intended,” Bluestone explained. “When you sit on one, you feel your spine relaxing into its natural curve, your hips can move and your circulation improves while your legs stretch — and teachers report that students sitting on KidsErgo often improve significantly in posture, concentration, participation, and behaviour.”
No more crouching and kneeling on their kitchen chairs or tipping them back so far we think someone’s going to get a concussion. The kids do wobble side to side occasionally while they’re eating on their KidsErgos, but they’re calmer and far less fidgety.
If only it was that easy to get them to eat “mixed together” foods without a fuss. 😉
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