Is Your Child Sitting in W-sitting? How Parents Can Help to Discourage W-Sitting?
Created by Swati Nitin Gupta Updated on Apr 08, 2020
The W-position is one of many sitting positions that most children move in and out of while playing, but it’s not recommended for everyone. Is your child sitting in a position that forms the letter W? Then probably it is time for you to sit up and take note. W-sitting refers to the position when the child sits with legs spread forming the alphabet W. Though initially, it was thought as a natural instinct of the child, but now experts differ and in fact suggest that this sitting position should be discouraged as it is not good for the development of your child’s back muscles.
We spoke with Dr Himani Khanna, Developmental and Behavioural Paediatrician, Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon, about W-sitting position in children. Read answers from a Developmental Paediatrician, on what you need to know about W-sitting, and how you can correct it in your child.
What is W-sitting Position?
The w-sitting position is a position wherein a child sits on his hips with both knees bent and legs spread behind him forming the alphabet W with his legs. Many growing children do tend to sit in this position while playing, but parents should be aware of excessive use of this position as it can lead to future problems related to muscles and joints.
Why Should W-sitting Be Discouraged?
When a child is sitting in W-position, she is planted in one spot or fixed through the trunk. This does not allow trunk rotation or lateral weight-shifts (twisting and turning around to pick things lying near the sides of the body). Control and strong trunk rotation and lateral weight-shifts, both, are required by the body for balancing, running, and ding table top activities. The main disadvantages of W-sitting are
- It puts excessive pressure on the hips making the child prone to issues related to hips dislocation etc.
- This position locks the upper torso thus restricting the movement in the upper part of the body. If the child sits for too long in this position or too much, then the core and the upper torso do not get enough activity through movement and this can lead to a weak back.
- A weak core, from W-sitting, can affect the child’s balance, running, delay postural control and affect stability in movement.
- In this position, the thigh muscles become tight which may lead to problems of stiffness in legs and discomfort.
- With tight thigh muscles, the joints also get adversely affected resulting in a weak gait.
Why Do Children Tend to Sit in W Position?
Children find it easy to sit in this position because it requires less muscle strength and gives them more control over their body and objects lying immediately in front of them. Sitting cross-legged or with their legs spread out in front, would instead require huge amounts of core strength. Also, generally, it is seen that hypotonic children or children with a weak core prefer to sit in this position, as an automatic response of the body.
At What Age Do Children Start W-Sitting?
As soon as the child starts sitting without any support, he may start sitting in this position, as this position gives him to balance without support. A child with a weak core will automatically prefer to sit in this position. While some outgrow this soon, other children may continue sitting in W-position later on as well which then requires intervention. [Read This: A Fat Child Doesn't Mean a Healthy Child - Obesity Causes & Risks]
How Can Parents Help?
The W-position is one of many sitting positions that most children move in and out of while playing, but it’s not recommended for everyone.
- Parents need to be more aware and need to keep correcting the position in preschoolers. It is better for children to sit cross-legged or with both legs stretched out in front of them.
- With older children, who continue sitting W, parents can introduce them to back-strengthening exercises. Check with your paediatrician or a developmental expert for what exercises are ideal for this posture correction.
- Yoga, under the supervision of a trained therapist, can also be introduced as it is a great way to strengthen the core.
- Younger children can be given regular massages on their backs and joints, to strengthen them.
- Encourage your children to have as much physical movement as possible including running in the park, playing ball, cycling, swimming etc.
Once the child starts sitting and crawling, let him have as much mobility as possible. Remove random furniture, excessive rugs from the house and let the baby have free access to the entire space—all this translates into muscle movement and exercise fro young babies and eventually strengthens their core. So, start early and let your child have the benefit of a healthy core.
| Mar 28, 2016
My daughter is 4yrs6months.... She tends to sit in the w-position.. she has difficulty hopping, running faster and climbing stairs... Currently we are taking her to a pediatric physiotherapist for core strengthening exercises..... My question is will this rectify her problem entirely.. And how much time should this take.. Please suggest
| May 20, 2016
My daughter had this problem and we took her to the doctor while she was 13 months old. Thankfully... with doctor's guidance we could change our daughter's habbit. Today she is 4 and super active in all physical activities. Nice article... very helpful to a lot of new parents .
| May 25, 2016
The article is good but you should tell how to correct it.... although w sitting is exaggerated... initially all babies will sit like this... but after that when they discover new ways of sitting they will sit in other ways too... everything on internet is not of a over concern... worry is good but panicking over everything thing is bad... and remember every problem has a remedy...
| Oct 27, 2016
my son used to sit in W way ...we were worried ...we used to correct often ...but it seems he was comfortable ...we have read that children who sit in this manner tend to walk late or not in proper way ... we asked doc ..he said its fine ..not to worry ..now he walks properly but ya he was a late walker ... this is not for the sitting position ..its all abt confidence .. doc say till 3- 4 yrs children learns how to walk and all ..so only after this u need to b worried ..
| Oct 31, 2016
Well, my son always used to sit like that ( W ) since he learnt to sit. I tried changing, but soon learnt, he was comfortable that way , and we were ok with it. He is 4 years and 8 months now, he sits normally, he runs fast enough, he has long legs :) .... So I don't agree to this statement.
| Nov 03, 2016
My daughter used to sit in W posture. Only when she was close to one we came to know its not good for her. Her legs got bent a bit. We started correcting her posture every time she sat that way by bringing her legs to the front. We used the same command ("legs front") every time and over a period of time she started changing her sitting posture when we ask her to. She's 3. 2 now and still sits in W posture at times. But, she corrects her posture on her own. So, one way to correct the posture in my opinion would be to help the kid change posture every time and use a specific command while doing so.
| Sep 14, 2017
thanks Swati for sharing this eye opening and an informative blog. w- sitting in childhood can lead to Orthopedic problems in future, is something which comes across as a shocking revelation to me and i am sure to many other parents too. thanks for sharing tips to discourage this posture while sitting and to help our children.