W Sitting: The Who, What, When and Why

W Sitting: The Who, What, When and Why

As a parent, you may have heard of “w sitting” and that it’s considered a bad thing for your child; however, you may be unaware of why that is or what you should be doing to break your child of the habit. Luckily, the Pediatric Therapists at Woman’s Center for Wellness are here with some great information to help you and your child.

What is W Sitting?

W sitting is a term to describe a sitting position in which a child’s bottom is on the floor while their feet and legs are out to the sides, forming a “w” shape.

Why do kids W Sit?

For many children, this is a preferred or comfortable position, and they sit that way without even thinking about it. Often times, kids who sit in this position are doing so in order to make up for weaknesses they may have in their hips and trunk. The added stability of this position allows them to play with toys in an upright sitting position without worrying about falling over.

It is very common (and normal) for kids to move in and out of this position when playing on the floor. Problems from this position arise when the child sits in this way for an extended period of time. However, as a parent, it is important to recognize when your child is sitting in the w position and to correct it for several reasons.

What’s Wrong with W Sitting?

While w sitting may seem like a benign position, it comes with many negative implications:

  • promotes poor posture
  • discourages active trunk muscles leading to deficits in balance
  • inhibits exploration and movements between positions, delaying meeting gross motor milestones
  • keeps children confined to playing only in midline, delaying development in bilateral coordination and skills such as hand dominance, skipping, throwing, kicking, etc.
  • may lead to hamstring tightness, tibial torsion/pigeon toed posture and hip dislocation

How to Correct W Sitting?

Prevention is the best method if it is possible to catch the pattern early on. When you see your child W Sitting, help them correct it. Correction can come in the form of letting your child know about and experience alternative seating positions such as:

Tailor Sit: Criss Cross Apple Sauce or Pretzel Pose

Butterfly Pose

Long Sit or Letter L

Side Sit or Letter Z

Heel Sit

Tall Kneel

Prone Pose or Tummy Time (important for older children, as well as babies)

Sitting on a low stool or bench

Consistency with verbal cues will help your child associate a specific phrase with changing their sitting posture, such as “Let’s fix our legs” or “Let’s sit Criss Cross Applesauce!”

If you find your child has difficulty meeting any position, other than W Sitting, it may be worthwhile to seek the advice of a pediatrician or physical therapist for suggestions. For more information or assistance, please contact us by phone at: 225-924-8450 or click here.