Quiet a few parents might have heard the phrase “W sitting” and that it is bad for their child to sit that way. Most of the parents are unaware of the reason that children are discouraged from sitting in this position.
What does “W” Sitting mean?
It is a type of sitting position, wherein a child sits on their bottom with both the knees bent and their legs turned away from the body. If we look at the child from above their head, his/her legs will be in the shape of the letter “W”. Their knees and thighs may touch together or spread apart.
Many children, prefer to sit in this position as it is comfortable for them, and they sit that way without even thinking about it. Children sit in this position in order to make up for weaknesses they may have in their hips and trunk. This position allows children to play with toys in an upright sitting position without a fear of falling down.
This is very commonly seen in kids as they move in and out of this position while playing indoors or on the floor. The problem with this position arises when the child sits in the same way for an extended period of time.
As a parent, it is very important to recognize when your child is sitting in “W” position and to correct it for the following reasons:
- Sitting in “W” position increases the risk of your child’s hip and leg muscles which become short and tight, this negatively affects their balance, coordination, and the development of gross motor skills.
- When sitting in the “W” position, children are unable to rotate their upper body which hinders the development of hand preference.
- Sitting in this position makes it difficult for the child to reach across the body and perform tasks that involve using both hands together or moving their arms from one side to the other.
- This later affects their ability while writing and doing other table-top activities that are important in school. This position also makes it difficult for the child to shift their weight from one side of their body to the other.
- In this position, the child is able to use only 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, which may lead to coordination difficulties later.
- “W” sitting position does not allow the child to develop strong muscles. The child’s trunk muscles do not have to work as hard to keep them upright instead they are relying on the wide base support of their legs to keep them upright.
If you see your child sitting in “W” position, rather than just saying, ‘Don’t sit like that’ you can instead suggest few other ways for them to sit, like:
- Long sitting
- Side sitting
- Sitting on a small bench
These positions allow your child to use both the hands at the same time on both sides of the body. In addition, these sitting positions help them to shift their weight from one side to another more easily and also encourage the child to use their back and abdominal muscles to maintain the upright sitting position.
At first, your child may resist the correction when you ask him/her not to sit in that way. However, as a parent, it is important that you consistently make this correction whenever you see your child sitting in W position, as it impacts their growth and development in a significant way.