Hot Topic: W-Sitting

22 Sep

Hot Topic: W-Sitting

What is it?

W-sitting is a position that is becoming more commonly used by children when seated on the ground. In this position, a child sits on their bottom, with knees bent, feet tucked under and behind, and legs out to each side representing the letter “W.”

Why kids sit in a W-sit?

W-sitting offers support to child with decreased postural control and stability, decreased external rotation, and decreased range of motion in hamstrings. Overall, it widens the child’s base of support.

Why is it bad?

W-sitting can cause orthopedic issues, delayed development of postural control and stability, and delayed development of overall higher level motor skills.

W-sitting can put stress on the hip abductors, hamstrings, internal rotators and heel cords, leading to the possibility of orthopedic issues. W-sitting can cause major muscle groups to be at a shortened position, resulting in muscles that begin to tighten. This can affect coordination, balance, and development of motor skills. W-sitting can also put stress on the femurs (thigh bone) causing atypical development of the bones to occur as the child grows.

Because w-sitting widens a child’s base of support, there is a decreased need for weight shift and postural control as he is playing, moving, and reaching. In addition to decreased trunk control, w-sitting requires less trunk rotation. Trunk rotation is extremely important in developing volitional crossing midline and separation of the two sides of the body needed for bilateral coordination. Good trunk control, stability, rotation, crossing midline, and overall bilateral coordination are important in developing higher level motor skills and hand dominance.

How to sit instead?

*Tailor sit (criss-cross)

*Ring sitting (butterfly)

*Long sitting (pike or straddle)

*Kneeling (on knees)

Even side sit can cause some of the issues as w-sitting if the child chooses that position on a regular basis.

Education is the Key!

Educating loved ones, teachers, and friends on the harmful affects on a child’s lower extremities from w-sitting is the only way we will prevent kids from choosing that seated pattern on a regular basis. Be consistent and always discourage w-sitting.

Be blessed!



3 Responses to “Hot Topic: W-Sitting”

  1. Terri Woodard September 22, 2012 at 9:33 pm #

    Hi Amy! Read an article in the Sams Club Healthy Living magazine (sept/oct) that made me think of you. Its called “Turning on Toddler Taste Buds” by Heidi Murkoff. Good tips to help toddlers learn to eat healthy! You can read it too at:
    page 18

    Love your blog! Keep up the Big Love!

    • Mess 2 Masterpiece September 28, 2012 at 12:31 am #

      Great article! Thanks for sharing it and for thinking of me!

  2. Elizabeth May 16, 2014 at 1:48 am #

    I mentioned your blog post in one I did on W-sitting. Thanks for the information and your hard work!

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