You may have heard your child’s Doctor, Physical Therapist, or Occupational Therapist talk about “W-Sitting.” But what is it? W-sitting is when a child sits on their bottom with their knees bent and feet positioned outside of their hips. If you’re standing above your child, you will see their legs and body make the shape of a W. W-Sitting often indicates poor balance and decreased abdominal strength. Your child assumes this position because it is very stable. This position provides them a very wide base of support. Their hips and pelvis are fixed, which also increases their stability.
What’s the big deal?
With prolonged time spent in this position, your child may not develop the strength they need for higher level skills, such as running and jumping as well as their fine motor skills, such as writing and buttoning. W-sitting can interfere with skeletal growth, and causes some muscles to become tight and others to become over-stretched. Because W-sitting is a very stable position, your child will not get to practice and experience weight shifts outside of their base of support which are important for improving their balance. They will also have difficulty rotating their trunk to play, so you may find they have difficulty with reaching tasks or only play right in front of them.
What can I do about it?
Prevent it! When your child assumes a W-sitting position, place them in a different position. If they need support: provide it for them, give them support with pillows, or place them against a firm surface like a couch or a wall. Encourage other sitting positions such as long sitting, side sitting, ring sitting, or even laying on their belly propped on their elbows.
Here are some examples of sitting positions to encourage:
Are you concerned about your child’s sitting posture? We would love to help! Call our office today at 574-376-2316 to find out if therapy might be beneficial for your child.