Infant and Child Development Program
What is “W-Sitting”?
A floor sitting position that young children sometimes use where their knees are bent, with lower legs and feet splayed out to each side and their bottom is placed firmly on the floor between their legs. Legs look like the shape of a “W”.
What is wrong with “w-sitting”?
- This position can cause stress on the hips, knees and feet, risking further orthopedic problems.
- It can cause tightness in some muscles and weakness in others, making it difficult to crawl, walk or sit in any other position.
- It can also lead to poor development of trunk strength, which can lead to difficulty learning new movements and higher level activities.
Why do Children “w-sit”?
- This position gives them a wide sitting base for greater balance and control, compared to “criss-cross” sitting. This frees up their hands to play.
- Some children may lack the flexibility to get into other sitting positions.
How do I stop a child from “w-sitting”?
- Be consistent. It takes time to break a habit.
- Help the child move into another sitting position, such as criss-cross or long-leg sitting (legs out in front of them), or side sitting.
- Use verbal reminders, such as “legs out”.
- If a child is not able to sit on the floor in any other position than “w-sitting”, then it may be best to have them sit on a low chair or stable stool. It may also be helpful to seek further advice from your health care provider or a pediatric physiotherapist.
If you live in Lanark County and would like more information, you may call the Lanark Infant and Child Development Program. If you have questions or concerns about your child’s health or development, please contact your health care provider.
Download a printable PDF copy of the "W-Sitting" Information Sheet.