How many times have you noticed your child sitting with their legs under their bottom? Me, every single day! It’s referred to as W-sitting! When a child is in a W-sitting position, their bottom is between the child’s legs and the knees are bent with the legs rotated away from the body. If you stand above the child and look down, it looks like a W. The Dreaded W!
Why do children sit like this? It’s a convenient position for a child while playing so they don’t have to work on keeping balanced while also concentrating on playing with toys. Sitting like this allows for increased stability through the hips and trunk. Why am I writing this blog post you ask? If your child sits in The Dreaded W, stop them now!
Why is W-sitting a problem you ask? Well, this position limits trunk rotation so the child can’t shift their weight to either side. This affects the development of balance and the ability to cross midline (using both sides of the body together). Hip and leg muscles also become shortened and tight leading to the child being “pigeon toed” when walking and back or pelvis pain as they grow. That horrible, no-good, Dreaded W!
So the next question you are probably asking is, “how am I going to stop this?” Encourage other ways to sit on the floor. For example, side sitting (on either side of the body with legs out in front), pretzel sitting (“criss cross applesauce”), or sitting on a bench or stool low to the floor. Consistency is key! Every time you notice your child sitting in The Dreaded W, correct them immediately. Their poor little legs, hips and backs will thank you!