Is Your Child “W” Sitting? If so, PT Can Help Correct It

Is Your Child "W" Sitting? If so, PT Can Help Correct It May3rd 2021

Consult with a Physical Therapist to Help Correct Your Child’s “W” Sitting!

One of the most common problems for children who see the physical therapist is “W” sitting.

As the parent, one of your main focuses is helping your child overcome physical obstacles that may be holding them back from being their best.

A physical therapy program can help resolve the problem of W sitting, but to get the help needed, you must first know more about it.

Read on to find out what W sitting is and how pediatric therapy sessions with your physical therapist can help. You can also contact Blue Ridge Physical Therapy now to arrange a visit for your child.

What is “W” sitting?

W sitting is a sitting position in which your child sits while bending their knees and placing their feet splayed out from their hips. You can recognize this position by standing above your child while they’re sitting on the floor.

If they’re in the W sitting position, you’ll be able to see the general shape of a W, with their body forming the middle of the letter and their legs making the outer part of the letter. Your physical therapist can help you recognize this sitting position.

How can a pediatric physical therapist help correct “W” sitting?

As previously mentioned, this type of sitting can pose several issues down the line for your child, such as:

  • Bilateral coordination issues
  • Orthopedic issues
  • Hip dysplasia
  • And more

Fortunately, physical therapy can help correct this type of sitting. According to Healthline,

“If you only see your child sitting in the W-position from time to time, you may not need to correct them. Pay attention to see if they shift themself out of the position easily and that they change positions throughout play.

Encourage your child to try a variety of sitting positions, such as these from British Columbia’s Quesnel & District Child Development Centre:

  • squatting
  • kneeling
  • long-sitting (legs straight out in front)
  • side-sitting (knees bent, both feet on same side of body)
  • tailor-sitting (both legs bent with feet touching)
  • criss-cross sitting (try to alternate which leg is on top)

Other tips from Orlando’s Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children:

  • Get your child moving in other ways to encourage development. Things like yoga, the game Twister, and playground play (balance beam, climbing slides, etc.) are all good options.”
  • Consider offering different seating options, like bean bag chairs or small step stools. Alternatives will encourage your child to move around often and help balance the strain on the legs.
  • Instead of saying, “Fix your legs!” try telling your child to, “Move into criss-cross legs so you can build strong muscles.” Keep the spin positive. For younger children, you may even just tickle or hug to get them to shimmy into a new position.

Why should I worry about “W” sitting?

W sitting is okay for short periods, but you should discourage your child from staying in the W sitting position for any extended period of time.

Your physical therapist can explain more about some of the dangers of the W sitting position, including:

  • Dislocated hip: Some children in physical therapy programs already have hip issues, and the W sitting position can make it worse. Continued W sitting may even lead to a dislocated hip.
  • Poor core strength: Many children who need a physical therapy program have poor core strength, and the W sitting position can make it even worse. If your child sits in the W sitting position, they won’t be using their core muscles enough. Your physical therapist can help with other sitting positions that can actually enhance core strength.
  • Muscle problems: Children who enter a physical therapy program for issues such as hypertonia need to be especially mindful of avoiding extended W sitting. W sitting can cause even more muscle tightness and physical difficulty for your child.

So, what does a pediatric physical therapy plan look like?

Your physical therapist can help with a physical therapy program that is specially designed to train your child into better sitting positions.

Your child will learn many new things while in physical therapy, and they’ll have a good time while they’re at it.

Pediatric therapy with a physical therapist is focused on helping both parents and children in a supportive and gentle way.

Your child’s physical therapist can recommend some measures to take at home to help prevent W sitting.

These tips may include:

  • Reminder phrase: A simple reminder phrase like “fix your legs” can prompt your child to reposition themselves promptly when you observe them in a W sitting position.
  • New sitting options: Consider purchasing a new chair that your child likes, perhaps even allowing them to pick it out themselves. Your child will be much more likely to avoid W sitting on the floor if they have a chair that they love.
  • Reinforce physical therapy: You can reinforce physical therapy lessons at home. Remind your child of the new sitting positions that they learned from their physical therapist and help them practice these new positions at home every night.

Ready to get started?

Ready to help your child live their best physical life? Contact us today to schedule a physical therapy appointment.

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