The moment your child sits on the floor with bent knees, feet outside their hips and bottoms touching the floor. While sitting in this position the legs of the child are similar to the formation of alphabet ‘W’ and thus is termed as W-sitting.
Why kids prefer W-sitting?
Kids often playfully sit in W position, however, for some sitting this position is a way out to make up for their hips and trunk muscular weaknesses. This position provides the kid with extra stability and firmness to play around with toys while sitting upright. You do not have to worry for your kid, is s/he frequently changes sitting position, yet if you notice your child sitting in W-position for a longer period, try and correct their position.
There are also chances of kid having an anatomical difference in their hip joints making their thigh bones twisting inwardly. This condition needs medical supervision and is known as femoral anteversion.*
Why ‘W’- sitting is bad?
- While sitting in w-position, kids tend to use less of core muscles. This might result in the weak shoulder and wrist movement affecting their fine motor development.
- The w-position restricts the body movement and prevents the side-side weight shifting
- Since there is reduced torso movement, the kid might develop limited coordination between their left and right body sides. The minimal coordination may also affect child’s bilateral coordination (using both body sides simultaneously)
- The W-sitting positing lay huge stress on the hips and knees joints resulting in the postural problems and frequent lower back pains among kids
How to rectify W-sitting
Noticing your child sitting in ‘W’- position, you might want to encourage them to sit in other forms.
- Small chair – Offer your child with a comfortable low height chair to sit on. This will help them move their torso and strengthen their bottoms
- Cross legged – This position is also referred to as ‘Criss-Cross Applesauce’ and is common sitting position while Pranayam. This helps them straighten their backs and keeps lower body muscles comfortable
- Legs in front – Toddlers do prefer sitting this way. This sitting position helps the child relax their leg muscles while correcting their ‘W’ position
- Legs sideways – In this position the kid’s legs would be on one side of the body while sitting in knee bent and sitting on their bottoms
- Kneel down – While kneeling down might sound similar to W – position, however, in this on the kid sits on the hips and both legs are intact with feet underneath hips.
- Encourage a movement based floor activity to let your child change her/his sitting position frequently.
- For further advice and supervision reach out to your pediatrician or contact occupational therapist