What is W-sitting? W-sitting is when a child sits with their bottom between their legs, knees are bent and both legs are turned away from their body. If you look from above, the legs are in the shape of a W.
Why do children sit this way? For some, it is just the most comfortable position for them. For others it may be to make up for some weakness in the hips and trunk. The added stability of this position allows children to play without the worry of falling over.
Is it bad for children to sit this way? If the child is sitting in this position for an extended time it can have harmful effects on the body.
- This position limits trunk rotation such that the child can not shift weight from side to side. This affects the development of balance reactions as well as the ability to cross midline.
- This position may cause shortening of the muscles causing the legs to rotate inwards and may cause hip or back pain as the child gets older.
- This position also requires little trunk strength where all other sitting positions will help facilitate trunk strengthening.
How can you prevent W-sitting? When you see your child in a W-sit position, encourage another position such as side-sitting, ring sitting, cross legged sitting, long sitting or sitting on a small stool. These positions encourage back and abdominal muscles to strengthen during play, allow for weight to shift from side to side within play, and allow hands to cross mid-line, working together on either the right or left side of the body.