Why Shouldn't Children Sit in a W?

Children shouldn't sit in a W because of the problems that this posture can cause in psychomotor development. Learn more in the following article.
Why Shouldn't Children Sit in a W?

Last update: 12 December, 2021

Children should not sit in W and we’re going to tell you why. To begin with, are you familiar with the W position? Do your children use it frequently? Well, you should know that this habit can bring them a series of problems at a structural level, and therefore, it’s not recommended.

In general, little ones tend to interact with the ground in different ways and even sit in the way that’s most comfortable for them. At that point, the W position stands out, a rather curious way to sit, with the child’s legs spread out to the sides. In fact, this isn’t exclusive to infants, as many adults continue to do so as they get older.

Despite the comfort that it produces for children, there are some risks associated with this postural habit. Keep reading to find out what they are.

Children shouldn’t sit in W

Despite standing out as a comfortable position, it’s best for children not to sit this way. As we mentioned above, this posture can cause problems on a physical level that you should be aware of.

Delays postural control

One of the main reasons why children use this position is focused on the base of support, as it allows them to maintain balance more easily.

In the W position, both the hip and the torso of the child remain static and this favors greater stability. However, the structures related to postural control are not sufficiently stimulated and their development is practically non-existent.

Basically, the muscles of the torso remain immobile and neither the reaction nor flexion nor rotation of the hip are stimulated.

A toddler girl sitting in a W position.

Muscle-skeletal problems

The W position for sitting not only decreases the mobility of the child but can also affect muscle, bone, and joint structures. Especially if this position is held for long periods of time.

In this posture, the hips are forced into internal rotation and the knees externally rotated. Therefore, the probability of suffering a hip dislocation increases dramatically, especially if the child has a history of hip dysplasia.

Another serious problem seen in children who frequently hold this posture is a shortening of the Achilles tendon, a ligament that connects the calves to the foot.

Regarding the muscles, the weakness of muscle groups of the torso, the abductors, the hamstrings, and the hip extensors becomes more and more pronounced.

Difficulty in fine motor skills

Incredibly, the inability to move the torso, specifically in rotation, makes it difficult to develop a dominant hand. By keeping the trunk static, children hold objects with the hand that’s closest, either the left or the right.

The impact of the above isn’t only evidenced in gross motor development, but also in fine motor skills. At this point, children may have more difficulty performing certain tasks, such as coloring, writing, or playing a musical instrument.

It affects basic locomotion patterns

Children shouldn’t sit in W, as this position affects basic locomotion patterns, such as walking on two feet. This problem is due to the high influence on muscle and bone development.

Even certain movements such as running and jumping are also impaired over time. Just imagine your child trying to move if they have poorly developed or underdeveloped physical structures.

How should children sit?

Sitting in W affects children’s motor development and that’s why you should prevent them from adopting this position. However, we recommend you to be calm and tactful, as children tend to get frustrated easily when being corrected. Ideally, you should avoid scolding or correcting them abruptly. Try to show them other positions they can adopt to sit comfortably.

Teach your children to sit with their legs extended forward or crossed in front. The important thing is that the posture they adopt allows the movement of the torso and avoids bone and muscle overload.

We also recommend that children don’t sit for long periods of time, as constant movement brings great benefits to the psychomotor development of little ones.

A small boy sitting with his legs crossed.

Is professional medical support necessary?

First of all, support as a mother should be sufficient to correct children’s postures when sitting. Of course, it’s a task in which other family members, such as the father, grandparents, or caregivers, must actively participate.

However, if problems are perceived in the physical development of children, the most appropriate response is to request medical support. Even medical assistance is likely to be provided by a specialist in orthopedics or similar fields.

In this way, children are evaluated and diagnosed according to the problem or condition. And based on this, the relevant solutions must be sought for each case. Although it’s best not to reach these circumstances in the first place.

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The contents of You Are Mom is for educational and informational purposes only. At no time do they replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment from a professional. If in doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.