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One Mom’s View on W-Sitting

Disclosure: This is not meant to be medical advice, it is simply the thoughts of one local mom.

Recently, I’ve noticed more and more articles gracing my newsfeed stating that W-Sitting is BAD.  These are mostly shared by friends who have no children…but that’s a story for another day. But you know the articles I’m talking about- “If your child sits in a W, he is doomed.”

The first time I saw a version of this article a few years ago, I worried. A LOT. I read the article – it explained in great detail that I was doing my child a disservice and I was most certainly causing her sensory issues.  You see, my 4-year-old sits with her legs forming a W about 84% of the time. Since she was tiny she has been a floor player, and always with the tiniest of things. Puzzles, small characters, trains, Legos – have been among her favorites since she could sit up. I’m here to tell you that legs in any form other than a W get in the way when working with tiny things on the floor. Don’t ask me about that experiment.

As time went on, I started to imagine the story time moms pointing at my cutie, who happened to be W-sitting while listening intently to the story, and judging me that I was there, rather than having her enrolled in an early intervention program because of the way she was sitting. These thoughts turned to worry, so I casually talked with a principal friend who put my mind at ease. The main points were:

Know your kid.
This is probably the most important takeaway. Only YOU can determine if you need to take your child in for an evaluation. Obviously, W-sitting can be a symptom of other problems. Watch them. When do they sit like that? And if you don’t like what you are seeing, by all means take it to the next level. But also take comfort in knowing that you aren’t ruining her life by not telling her to sit a different way.

We all have sensory issues to some extent.
Is this too sensitive a subject? I don’t know about you, but I don’t like it when the seam of my socks are off center. I also don’t like it when the crotch of my pantyhose is not where it belongs. It seems silly. But those are sensory issues. I don’t like how it feels. My 4-year-old doesn’t like her sleeves to touch her hands at all. At all. My 8-year-old doesn’t like to wear jeans. My 12-year-old doesn’t like to wear her backpack on one arm. They are all sensitive to sounds, and not just an excessively loud sound, but often just a tad louder than normal and they are covering their ears. They don’t like how it feels. We all have these things, don’t we? But we may call them a quirk, right?

Don’t believe everything you read.
We live in an extremely media saturated generation. Social media. Mainstream media. People can write anything they want and post it lots of places, a lot of the time for free (or cheap) and people will read it. People will believe it. But then you have moms reading it. And believing it. True or not, someone says we are ruining our child and we believe it. We want to fix it. We have a need to know we’re doing the best we can with the information available. Sometimes it’s just not true. I just did a quick google search and of the first 10 hits, 5 hits were W-sitting is ok, and 5 were W-sitting is BAD. That’s too much diversity for them both to be true. Be leery of the author of what you’re reading when they present their information as fact.

When I finally realized that I was fairly certain my children didn’t need further evaluation, I saw these articles not as informational and helpful, but as a “know it all” trying to set a trend by sparking mom guilt. It certainly had me questioning for a hot minute – what about the sweet momma that doesn’t have a kind principal friend to talk sense into her? Make sure to follow your mom instinct no matter what. More than likely, you know better than anyone what to do next.

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2 Responses to One Mom’s View on W-Sitting

  1. Karen January 19, 2017 at 7:15 am #

    To give a little medical background the whole w sitting thing can be a sign that a child has low tone or is hypomobile, things that can be seen with downs or mild cases of CP. They’ll have other signs like it meeting milestones etc. The child sits this way to increase its base of support. The position puts your hips and knees in a terrible position inab extreme of internal rotation putting stress on your ligaments and putting your hip at a bad position. A child who sits this way is not doomed but sitting like this is not ideal. They should be encouraged to sit other ways. Like anything else people have just enough knowledge to be dangerous. I’m a licensed PT and a mom of three.

  2. Laura January 19, 2017 at 12:32 pm #

    I am a pediatric physical therapist as well and would agree with the above responder. Firstly, “W” sitting is developmentally appropriate at certain ages. It coule be a sign or symptom of hip issues or can contribute to them at a certain point–again if it is done excessively. I would not worry at all if you child does so periodically but at a certain age if you child’s main way of sitting is in “W” sitting along with other symptoms then you may want to pay attention to it and try discourage them from sitting this way. It can also be a sign of hypotonia at a certain stage as well. I have 5 children of my own and never worried if they play in “w” sit. It definitely isn’t something you need to overworry about.

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