“W-sitting”

“W-sitting” is a seated position where the child is sitting on his/her bottom, with knees bent in front, and legs to their respective side.  The child’s bottom, knees, and legs are all touching the floor.  If you were to stand above the child and look down, their body would appear in the shape of a “W”.

Image from: https://www.cdchk.org/parent-tips/truth-about-w-sitting/

“W-sitting” limits trunk rotation and lateral weight shifts (from side to side). It also limits the development of the trunk muscles, which can lead to further gross motor delays. It has the potential to shorten and tighten the hip and leg muscles, which can lead to the inability to sit comfortably in other positions. “W-sitting” can increase the risk of hip dislocation as well. It also discourages children from reaching across midline, which can also delay the development of a preferred hand for handwriting tasks.

Why is my child “W-sitting”?

  • Easy access to play in front of them while sitting on the floor
  • Lack of balance/stability when sitting unsupported 
  • Lack of core strength
  • Weakness in hips

Strategies for “W-sitting”

  • Teach child different seating postures for seated floor activities
    • Long sitting, with legs out long in front of child
    • Kneeling, with legs tucked under bottom
    • Side sitting, can have child sit with both legs bent while leaning on one side
    • Criss-cross position
  • Display pictures of correct seating postures in child’s play area
  • Give consistent verbal reminders whenever child chooses “W-sitting” position
    • “Fix your legs!”
    • “Sit criss-cross applesauce!”
  • Have a child sit in low chair with a top surface to avoid sitting on the floor
  • Choose floor activities that require changes in positioning

If you are worried about your child’s sitting positions, call Taylor Johnson OTR/L to further discuss your families needs and concerns (847) 334-7900

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