Beware of W-sitting in Your Toddler
The Our First Year team has decided to address w-sitting in our blog this week. We have noticed more and more images on Facebook and Instagram depicting a child engaged in a wonderful developmental activity...while w-sitting.
What is w-sitting? W-sitting is when a child sits on their bottom with their knees bent and feet positioned outside of their hips; their body makes the shape of a "w". W-sitting is not recommended for anyone and can lead to future problems. Children generally w-sit when they have difficulty keeping their balance, or when they have weak core muscles. W-sitting does not engage those core muscles; and therefore, makes less work for the child when sitting and engaged in an activity. When a child sits like this, they are unable to move their upper body around freely and reach for toys on either side.
W-sitting can negatively impact children in the area of developing more mature movements. No one should w-sit, but it is even more detrimental for children with a history of hip dislocation, muscle tightness, and contractures. W-sitting is also harmful for children with increased muscle tone and for children who are not reaching across the midline (i.e. across their body).
How can parents and caregivers prevent w-sitting? Parents and caregivers need to be vigilant in deterring w-sitting and allowing their child to form that habit. Catch it early and encourage alternate ways of sitting (cross-legged, side sitting, and long sitting). Sitting in these other positions enables the child to increase their core control and reach across the midline. When a child has a strong core, they are able to focus more in circle time, to speak clearly and loudly (with the added breath support), and increase overall gross and fine motor skills.
For more information about child development, check out our previous blog posts. Finding credible information regarding your toddler's development has never been more accessible...
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