Red Flags During Motor Development: W-Sitting
As children, many of us sat in what is considered a “W” position. This is when children sit on the floor with feet turned out to the sides forming a W-shape with their legs and knees. W-sitting is typically seen when children are transitioning from crawling to sitting and vice versa. As innocent as it seems, W-sitting for long periods of time can cause many long-term problems including poor posture, abnormal hip positioning, increased risk for hip dislocation, impaired balance, in-toeing walking pattern, and frequent tripping. If you child is unable to sit in a side sit or crisscross position, talk to your pediatrician about further screening and physical therapy services. Physical therapy will address your child’s individual impairments such as poor posture, core weakness, atypical hip positioning, hip weakness, poor balance, and more to improve sitting posture, balance, and coordination!
If you notice your child is frequently W-sitting, try these tips below to help:
Set aside time in the day specifically for floor-play and activities, whether that is reading, watching a movie, or doing a puzzle and encourage crisscross sitting during this time. The more time your child spends out of w-sit and in a crisscross position, the more comfortable he/she will become in the position and help to break the habit!
Spend time playing in side-sitting for 20-30 minutes a day, such as when playing with blocks, cars, or playdough. Side-sitting helps to discourage w-sitting, but may be more comfortable for your child as he or she is learning to sit with better leg positioning!
Work on core (trunk) strength and coordination with fun animal walks! When playing inside or outside have your child walk like an animal such as a bear, crab, alligator, or inch worm. This will help your child improve his/her arm, leg, and core strength, as well as improve coordination and body awareness in a fun and unique way!
Thank you for reading, Red Flags During Motor Development: W-Sitting.
Kimberly Shanahan PT, DPT
Lead Physical Therapist