What is “W” sitting and why is it discouraged?

What is “W” sitting and why is it discouraged?

When kids begin sitting independently, a common way to sit is through the “W” sitting position. This sitting position was named after the appearance of the child’s legs from a bird’s eye view. As a physical therapist, this position is discouraged for many reasons such as shortening of muscles in the hip, excessive rotation at the hips increasing the risk of dislocation, and decreases weight shifting in the trunk limiting core activation.

Although these potential outcomes of W sitting may seem daunting, they can be prevented and/or treated for. There are many other ways to sit that we can encourage our kids to choose instead of the W position. The three recommended ways to sit and that we encourage at TEAM 4 kids is crisscross sitting, side sitting, and long sitting. A cue that is often used when a child is sitting in W sitting is “fix your legs” and this allows the child to move out of the unwanted position and into a preferred position. Consistency is key! Say this phrase every time you see your child sitting in the W sitting position so fixing their legs becomes a habit.

If you notice your child W sitting and the common phrase “fix your legs” does not seem to be helping, come in and see one of our physical therapists at TEAM 4 Kids.  We highly recommend a consultation if you notice your child having tummy weakness, poor flexibility of the hips, pigeon toed walking, if you notice a limp, or they have the inability to sit in any other position. If our Surprise location is a little out of the way, TEAM 4 Kids has a Peoria location as well!

Lauren Yoshida, PT, DPT