Sitting in the W-shaped position is actually quite common among children. However, if the child takes the W-sitting position too often or sits like that for too long it can have averse effects on their development. Why sitting in a W-position is not recommended for your child and what risks are associated with it?
What is the W-sitting position?
The W-position seems very uncomfortable and unnatural for adults, however children often like to sit in this way. Sitting like a “frog” gives children a wide base of support during play without using their core muscles as much to sit upright. This position is especially preferred by children with poor muscle tone, but not only. To put it simply: sitting in a W-position is sitting like a frog, between the legs, with feet and ankles behind. When a child sits down in a W-shape, they have their knees out in front, but their ankles and feet are to either side of their hips. Knees are bent and the feet are twisted. The W-sitting is a position the child’s legs take - when looking at the child sitting in this way from above, we see their legs take that classic W letter shape. Parents tend to neglect the fact a child takes this position; however, if it becomes a regular sitting position for your child you need to intervene.
Why your child should not take the w-sitting position?
When children remain seated in a W-position too long it can affect their development in a negative way. What are the consequences of repeatedly sitting in the W-shaped position? Here are some of them:
- In the future, a child who prefers the W-shaped position may have limited core strength. This can result in an incorrect posture, such as slouching or walking with a protruding tummy or bottom.
- Sitting like a “frog” for too long may also pose a greater risk of developing bad posture, bowleg, standing and walking with feet turned inwards, pelvic misalignment and scoliosis. Sitting in a W-shaped position can also result in hip problems and dysplasia.
- The “frog” position also causes problems with motor coordination and maintaining balance. Coordination problems can turn into difficulties in drawing and writing, problems with catching a ball, etc.
- W-shaped sitting also means weakening trunk and core muscles - the position does not require muscle strength to maintain balance, so they don’t move enough to develop properly
W-sitting or ‘frog’: position - what else should you know?
Please note that the W-shaped position is not always a problem or calls for urgent intervention of the parent - if the child takes the position occasionally and the W-position, there is no reason to be concerned. If you see your child take the W-shaped position from time to time, but also many other positions, there are no visible problems with muscle tone or degree of activity, the W-sitting should not pose a risk. Show your child how to sit in other ways, and encourage them to change positions frequently. The problem appears if the child sits in this position too frequently, or the W-shaped position starts to dominate over others, or becomes the preferred way to sit by the child. If the W-shaped is the go-to sitting position of the child, it is best to consult a physiotherapist to diagnose the cause of your little one tending to take the “frog” position and propose solutions to eliminate the problem.