“W-sitting” is a common position children will choose to sit. In this position, children arrange themselves on their bottoms, with their knees bent, feet tucked under, and their legs out to the side in what looks like a “W”. This is a normal sitting position because children feel supported and secure. However; many parents don’t recognize the issues and potential dangers of letting their children sit like this for a prolonged amount of time.
Sitting in a “W” position too often or for too long can negatively impact a child’s development and growth patterns.
The Negative Effects of “W-Sitting” Include:
Delayed Development of Postural Control and Stability
Delayed Development of Refined Motor Skills
These are the primary reasons why having a child sit in this position is strongly discouraged. We want our children to grow strong and this type of sitting prevents that. It also puts unecessary strain on the body.
Exclusive “W-Sitting” Puts Undue Stress On:
The Hip Abductors
Dislocation is easy and common with children who commonly sit in this position. Also, sitting in this position leads to shortened or tightened muscles. This can affect development of motor skills, balance, and coordination. Also, “W-sitting” results in less need for stability, postural control, and weight shift during play. This weakens the trunk muscles or hinders their development.
The only way to stop or fix this poor seating habit is with consistency. Teach the child how to sit correctly and remind them of how to sit on the floor. One may also invest in a small desk or table with a chair.
For anyone who may get upset at this post, please reference this original and this child development article response. Not all “W” sitters will have severe issues but it is still not recommended, as it can elevate risks.