Paediatric Physiotherapy Orillia

Are you concerned that your child likes to sit in the W position? Many children do, and most of them will outgrow it. Keep reading to find out when to ignore it and when you should bring your child to a Paediatric Physiotherapist.

What Is W-Sitting?

The W-Sitting position is when both knees are in front of the body and both feet are on either side of their hips, which then creates a W shape.

Why Does My Child W-Sit?

W-Sitting is quite common in children as it takes less effort and energy to maintain an upright position compared to other sitting positions.

W-Sitting also allows for ease of movement while playing. Sometimes children may not have strong enough leg or trunk muscles to keep them stable during play, so as a result, they widen their base of support to help with balance.

Is There a Problem With W-Sitting?

It is ok for children to W-Sit occasionally, as long as it is not their go-to position for a prolonged period of time. When children W-Sit for prolonged periods of time, it can start to have an impact on their development, especially if it continues past 2 years of age.

W-sitting can lead to walking pigeon-toed (in-toeing), having tight leg muscles, especially the hamstrings, having hunched/poor posture, altered hip motor development and weak tummy and back muscles.

If your child has been diagnosed with hip dysplasia, you will want to discourage W-Sitting as this will increase the chances of hip dislocations due to the increased internal rotation of the hip.

Alternatives to W Sitting

It is important to encourage different sitting positions for your child, in order for them to reduce the amount of time they spend W-Sitting. Some alternative positions that are recommended are:

  • Long sitting
  • Cross-legged sitting
  • Butterfly sitting
  • Side sitting
  • Low kneeling
  • Squatting activities

If your child still has difficulty using one of the above as their new go-to position, you can always try getting your child to sit in a chair to avoid the ease of W-Sitting on the floor.

The best way to reduce W-Sitting is to incorporate an alternative sitting position into your child’s everyday routine and the earlier the intervention the better in order to avoid it becoming a long-term habit! The more your child uses these alternate sitting positions the more your child will develop stronger tummy muscles and feel supported.

Final Words

If your child is W-Sitting frequently or has other unusual postural habits, book an appointment with our kid’s physio or call us at 705-327-5400 to book a FREE 10-minute kids phone consultation!

lauren longeri physiotherapist resident miller health orillia
Written by: Lauren Longeri, PT Resident

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