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W Sitting: The What, Why, and How

August 01, 2017

Here is the what, why, and how of W SITTING.

This is a sitting position that can be detrimental to a child’s development and is very easy to correct.  

So let’s explore what w sitting is, why children do it, and how to correct it!

What is W sitting?

When a child sits with their bottom on the floor and their knees and feet bent behind them in a “w” position.  Often children who are crawling will move from a hands and knees position into a W by pushing their bottoms back in between their feet as opposed to side sitting and then bringing their feet in front of them.

Why would a child sit in a W position?

  • Children that sit in a w position may have decreased strength in their core muscles.
  • The w position provides a wide base for a child to sit and be able to use their hands. Children with weak cores will look for alternative positions to put their bodies in so they can use their hands to play with toys while keeping their bodies supported
  • This position provides a stable base that can make a child feel safer when sitting up and trying to use their hands to play with a toy.

Why should I correct this position if I see my child sitting in a W?

  • W sitting can cause a variety of issues with development. This position allows children to sit with decreased activation of their core muscles. These muscles are important for maintaining an upright position such as standing and walking.
  • W sitting decreases midline crossing and trunk rotation. Midline crossing is important for fine motor skills such as writing letters.
  • W sitting puts the muscles of the legs in a shortened position and can cause tightness in the hamstrings (back of legs) and hip rotators. This can lead to problems with back, hips, and knees later in life.
  • W sitting can cause the bones of the legs to rotate inward causing a child to walk pigeon toed. This can cause tripping and falling and can lead to hip and knee issues later in life.

How should children be sitting?

  • Criss cross applesauce
  • Side sitting
  • Long sitting
  • Knee sitting
  • If sitting on the floor is too challenging, a small chair is the best option!



What issues can W sitting cause?

  •  Delay in walking
  •  Decreased core strength
  •  Difficulty crossing midline which can affect a child’s ability to write letters and complete other fine motor tasks
  •  Toeing in when walking (pigeon toed)
  • Tightness in hamstrings and hip rotators which can lead to back, hip, and knee problems later in life

A physical therapist can help provide activities and exercises to help correct w sitting, strengthen weak muscles, and help children meet their developmental milestones!

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