Understanding what’s wrong with “W” Sitting

There are so many superstitions and fallacies floating around regarding this sitting position that parents are left with no choice to worry, but being a parent basically means worrying about everything your child is doing, and not doing. It’s okay for parents to worry; however, there are certain things that parents worry so much about that they end up losing their sleep over it.

The cause of worry could differ from child to child. One of the most common things that turn regular parents into anxious ones is when they see their child frequently doing the “W” sitting.

There is power in knowledge, and the only way parents and nannies can stop worrying about their children and charges is by learning more about the “W” sitting and the strategies to help their child and charge adopt a better body position.

Let’s educate ourselves regarding the “W” sitting and what can be done about it:

What is “W” sitting?

“W” sitting in a sitting position in which a child sits directly on their bottom with legs bent and positioned on either side of their body, next to the hips. The child’s knees might be touching or spread apart. If someone sees them while standing directly above them, their legs would be forming a “w” shape, hence the name.

Most parents and nannies would notice this sitting position in children between the ages of 3 to 6 years. However, this habit can also be found in younger or older children. Children usually acquire this position when they are deeply involved in playing, and almost take this sitting position unknowingly.

While some parents would not take much note of it, they must.

For a child to take the “W” sitting position sometimes is okay, but when a child is doing it excessively, it’s an indication some serious action needs to be taken.

What’s wrong with the “W” Sitting

“W” Sitting Could be Indicating at Femoral Anteversion

There could be many reasons behind the “W” sitting position. One of them could be because a child is born with their thighbones turned in. This condition is called femoral anteversion because the head and the neck of the femur rotated.  In such case, it is more comfortable for a child to sit in a “W” sitting than in any other position since they have more hip rotation.

The condition is not worrying at all as it improves and corrects naturally as a child grows and their bones develop. However, until the condition is healed, the child will continue to sit in the same position. It usually tends to heal and improve after the age of 8.

That is one of the reasons to get your child checked immediately so that you can stop worrying and help your child improve by changing their diet.

“W” Sitting is a Sign of Poor Balance and Weak Core Support

When children have a weak core, weak abdominal and trunk extensor they rely less on it. Instead, they use their legs and their bottom as a larger and stronger base and lean on it to move and play around.

This sitting position also hints at poor static balance.  Again, it’s an indication for parents to introduce their children to a healthier diet and take other relevant measures to help them improve their balance.

“W” Sitting Can Aggravate Muscle Tightness

Sometimes, children start adopting the “W” sitting position because they find it more stable. It gets easier for them to rotate their trunk and reach out to their toys behind them, or too far away from them.

While the reason for this position might be nothing but an innocent plan to play effectively, it can end up aggravating muscle tightness.

In this position, a child’s hip abductors, hamstrings, heel cords, and internal rotators are in an extremely short range. If a child already suffers from tight muscles and contractures, this position can worsen it.

Introduce your child to other sitting methods to kill the habit of “W” sitting.

“W” Sitting Can Lead To In-Toeing Walking Patterns

One bad habit can lead to another. When a child frequently sits in the “W” sitting, they end up having an increased internal range motion and decreased external range motion as well as the weak hip abductor.

As a result, the child gets pigeon-toed or adopts an in-toeing walking gait.

“W” Sitting Can Lead to Painful Adulthood

Any position kept for a prolonged time can lead to poor posture and weakness in certain areas of the body. The weakness in trunk extensor and poor sitting positions like that of “W” sitting can lead to back pains later in life.

“W” Sitting Can Lead to Neurological Concerns

If a child is suffering from hypertonia and spasticity (increased muscle tones) and asked to avoid certain positions, then the “W” sitting will do the opposite.

“W” sitting will end up feeding the abnormal movements and worsen the condition, hence it’s better to avoid sitting like this and adapt other safer sitting position.

“W” Sitting Can Increase the risk of Hip dislocation

Frequently sitting in the same “W” sitting position can make a child highly susceptible to hip dislocation.

A child with a history of hip dysplasia must avoid this sitting position at all costs.

“W” Sitting Can Be Indicating At Something Serious

If you notice your child always using the “W” sitting position, in addition to walking with a limp, a pigeon-toed walk and weakness in the lower extremities then it definitely requires immediate attention.

Get it checked by a doctor as it might be hip dysplasia or abnormal growth of hip bone.

What Can You Do?

If you ever notice your child, or your charge sitting in “W” sitting position then gently nudge them out of it.

If it continues, instead of nudging or forcing the children out of that position, seek professional help and get it checked.

If it’s a habit, you can help your child. However, if your child is sitting like this because of any of the above conditions, they need medical help ASAP.

In either case, as long as you pick out this habit early-on and find out the reason behind it, there’s nothing to worry about.

© Teresa Boardman, Nanny Options.


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