Many parents have heard that the “W sitting” position is “bad” for their children without knowing the real reason why this is discouraged. But what is W sitting position? W Sitting is when a child is sitting on their bottom with both knees bent and their legs turned out away from their body. Looking from above, his or her legs will be in the shape of the letter “W.” Their knees and thighs may be touching together or spread apart.
Many children prefer this position as it is considered comfortable and allows them to play with toys in an upright sitting position with minimal chances of falling over. But when a child sits for a longer period of time in this sitting position, several problems may arise that could lead to detrimental effects on the development of their gross motor skills, balance, and coordination.
What are the dangers of sitting in W position?
1. Increases the risk of the child’s hip and leg muscles becoming short and tight. This can negatively affect their coordination, balance, and the development of gross motor skills down the road.
2. Increase a child’s risk of hip dislocation especially those who already have hip dysplasia (which may not be formally diagnosed). They are unable to rotate their upper body, giving the kids hard time to reach across the body and perform tasks that involve using both hands together or crossing their arm over from one side to the other. Research says that it will later affect their ability to perform writing skills and other table-top activities that are important in school.
3. Hinders the development of a hand preference. Kids could only use objects on the right side of the body with the right hand and those on the left side of the body with the left hand. This could later lead to coordination difficulties.
4. Makes it difficult for the child to shift their weight from one side of their body to the other, which is very important in standing balance and when developing the ability to run and jump.
5. Does not allow the child to develop strong trunk muscles. The child’s trunk muscles do not have to work as hard to keep them upright while sitting in this position. Instead, they are relying on the wide base of support of their legs and joint structures to keep them upright.
If you see you kid sitting in W position, just simply say not to sit like that. To prevent your child from developing this habit and avoid detrimental effects on your child’s development, suggest other ways for them to sit such as:
- Long sitting
- Side sitting
- Criss-Cross or Tailor sitting
- Sitting on a small bench
To consult an occupational therapist is also advised especially when the child is unable to sit alone in positions other than the W-position.
Is this article helpful?