Ergonomic Solutions for Homeschooling Laptop Users

laptop computer sitting behind separate keyboard on desk

Almost everyone nowadays owns a laptop. The only problem with this is that most people are never taught the proper ergonomic techniques associated with owning one. It can be unhealthy for your wrists and joints if you are not properly positioned when using your laptop. It can lead to even more severe health issues down the road. Luckily, all of this mayhem can be avoided if you follow the guidelines presented in this article.

Ergonomic Solution #1: Docking Stations

Laptops are meant for portability. This is evident in the fact that they have crammed keyboard spacing, tiny monitors, and small tap boards to scroll and click with. Everything about a laptop is designed for efficiency and functionality. However, these luxuries don’t come without a price. An excellent ergonomic solution for handling this problem is to purchase a docking station for your laptop.

Basically, docking stations allow you to plug up your device to a regular desktop computer which already has a mouse and keyboard built into it. From there, you would need to still use proper ergonomic techniques but it would still be much easier than working on your laptop for extended periods of time. While this is a very effective alternative to simply using your laptop, it can also cost quite a bit of money; which is why we are going to give you another solution.

Ergonomic Solution #2: Separate Accessories

If you are someone who is on a budget and don’t want to go to a back pain specialist, then the next viable option would be to purchase a separate keyboard and mouse for your laptop. This way, you can simply go ahead and use your laptop like a regular computer. Note that you will still have to deal with the small screen, but at least you have several other ergonomic problems taken care of. Again, if you are looking for a solid solution which doesn’t cost that much, then this is something you should definitely consider.

Common Problems with Laptops

As we’ve previously discussed, what makes a laptop so attractive is the fact that they are small and portable. You can pretty much take them anywhere without worrying about them taking up too much space. As a result, they often promote several ergonomic problems. For one, there is the issue of keyboard spacing. Keys tend to be very scrunched up on a laptop (a lot closer than a regular keyboard). Hand cramps are the most common side effect to this. There we have monitor size- which is much smaller in relation to a desktop computer. This forces the user to strain their eyes and neck by having to lean in more often to see the screen.

The next problem is that the monitor cannot be moved or adjusted like a regular computer’s can. You are very limited when it comes to ergonomically correcting this area. The best thing you can do is adjust your monitor so that it sits at spot which doesn’t require you to do too much bending at the neck. Finally, we have the issue of small pointers.

Laptops don’t come with a mouse so instead, they offer tiny touch pads or dots which allow you to control the cursor on your monitor. For anyone who has ever used a laptop, you know how difficult and frustrating they can be when you are using them for extended periods of time. They can also cause tons of unnecessary stress on fingers, hands, and wrists.

Conclusion

In general, laptop ergonomics is about being as comfortable as you possibly can. You don’t’ want to “force” yourself or your children into certain positions for extended periods of time. This is the number one for sure way to injure your body. Simply make sure that your neck and head sit evenly compared to your laptop screen and that your wrists are sitting naturally on the keyboard. Never slant or slant them upwards or downwards as you would on a regular computer.

About the Author

Melissa Cameron discovered the Internet in 2003 and has been freelance writing ever since. She lives in Austin Texas with her family and she is currently writing a series of articles on back pain and the importance of developing an ergonomic work space with the help of a California Chiropractor specializing in lower back pain in Sacramento.

Earnest Parenting: help for laptop users who don’t want to go to the back specialist.

Photo courtesy of Guillermo Esteves via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.

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  • ergonomic computer mouse February 17, 2012, 10:51 am

    I use a combination of an ergonomic mouse and trackpad to improve my ergonomics while at my desk. Tried to start taking regular breaks also.

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