What To Know About W-Sitting!

What is W sitting?

W sitting is a position children sit in where their knees are placed together in front of them and their feet are on the sides of their hips, making a W-shape as pictured.


What causes my child to sit like this?

Children usually sit like this because of:

  • Bone alignment

  • Core and trunk weakness

  • Excessive hip flexibility

  • Joint hypermobility

  • Low muscle tone

  • They just like to

  • It's easier!

Not all W-Sitting is bad!

Most kiddos W-sit at some point in their development! But it is only cause for concern if this is the child's preferred sitting position and ring/circle sit or side sit is not observed.

W-sitting widens a child’s base of support in sitting and decreases the utilization of the core muscles. It also may create limited movement for a child where they are moving only forward and backward in one plane as opposed to movement in additional planes including laterally to the side and with rotation. W-sitting also creates difficulty transitioning in and out of sitting through rotation which is a huge component to achieving developmental milestones. if your kiddo does transition in and out W sitting and you do observe him or her to sit in several different sitting positions no reason to be concerned!


But why does W sitting cause concern?

  • HIP DISLOCATION

  • Prolonged W sitting can place stress on the hips and joints, increasing risk of a hip dislocation.

  • TRUNK AND CORE WEAKNESS

  • When children w-sit, they don’t have to use core muscle strength as a wide w-sitting stance makes it easier to maintain an upright position. Therefore children won’t develop core strength as they would when sitting in other positions.

  • MUSCLE TIGHTNESS

  • W-sitting may cause muscle tightness in hips, knees and ankles.

  • HAND PREFERENCE

  • It is easy to use either hand to accomplish a task when w sitting due to too much trunk control and stability. Therefore, the child does not have a hand preference, which is important for later on when learning how to write.

  • LACK OF CROSS BODY MOVEMENT

  • When children w-sit, it is difficult to rotate their trunk to reach across their body for objects. Reaching across the body is important for coordination and for combined movements needed to complete everyday tasks such as reading, writing, and tying shoe laces.


What can you do to help?

You can encourage other different sitting positions such as cross-legged sitting, long sitting, side sitting or kneeling. Choose activities that require frequent changes in sitting positions. Physical/Occupational therapy can help with stretching to help decrease muscle tightness and to increase core/trunk strength!


Blog written by: Maria Lensmire, PTA





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