W Sitting

W sitting is when a child sits with their bottom on the ground, knees in front and feet splayed out to the side. This is a comfortable position for many kids to sit in but a position that maybe a problem, especially if it is the only sitting position used by a child to sit on the floor.

In this position the hip is in full internal rotation and in kids whose joints are still loose, it is an easy position to fall into.  Most adults won’t have the range of motion at the hip to get into this position.

W sitting also gives the child a wide base of support which makes balancing easier; and it is often kids with lower tone who prefer this position as they don’t have to work so hard to balance with this wide base of support.

So when is W sitting a problem?
It is a problem when a child exclusively sits on the floor this way as they are not engaging their core and building strength here.

W sitting may also exacerbate internal rotation of the femur so if this is already a concern with the child they should be dissuaded from sitting this way.  Cross legged sit it great.  In America they remind kids to sit this way by saying “Criss cross apple sauce!”  In Australia we sometimes call this Kinder Sit, as it is the preferred way to sit at kinder for both developmental and practical reasons – it takes up less space on the mat!  However, a small proportion of children who have significant internal rotation of their femurs may not be comfortable in this position.

An alternative option is legs straight out in front or legs 11.  In this position the core is still engaged and the hips are not forced into internal rotation.  However, it is more of a challenge to bend forward to play on the floor.

So, if your child has a pre-existing medical condition, hip condition or exclusively sits in W sit, you may need to seek advice on the best option for them.  Advice can be sought from good physios, osteos and occupational therapists with experience in treating children, or ask your paediatric orthopaedic surgeon at your next appointment.