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Guest Blog: Why is W-sitting a Four Letter Word?

Copyright April 2009, Reprinted with permission of the author as it appeared on the Starfish Therapies Blog

By: Stacy Menz, DPT, Board Certified Pediatric Clinical Specialist
I’m constantly amazed at how often I see children w-sitting these days. I often treat children in pre-school or daycare settings and I see many children plop right down into w-sitting and stay there for an extended period of time. They are playing without a care in the world and they have no idea that I am cringing inside (well okay I’m sure some of it spills over to the outside). With the children I work with many parents have no idea that this is not a ‘good’ sitting posture. Many of them sat that way as a child or their older children sit that way. “What’s wrong with W-sitting?” addresses many of the issues with w-sitting as well as some ways to encourage your child not to do this. In addition to what is mentioned in the previous article it is also bad for a child’s hip development and stability. When a child is born their femurs (thigh bones) are internally rotated and they derotate (a topic for another blog) through development and positioning. W-sitting actually encourages their bones to stay in an internally rotated position.
One of the most frequent lines out of my mouth is “fix your feet.” In fact, when I was home last year I watched my nephew casually come into the living room and sit in w-sitting while playing with his toys. I quickly got onto my favorite soap box and told him it wasn’t a good way to sit. Its amazing how much kids listen and pick up because I walked into the room later that week to hear him telling my brother (his dad) that Aunt Stacy said not to sit like that (my brother was sitting on his knees). In fact, just yesterday I got a picture from my dad (his pop-pop) in my email inbox titled ‘Am I sitting correctly?’ The picture was of him sitting ‘criss cross applesauce’ or tailor sitting! Anyway, I digress. The key is to be consistent with not only the words that you use, but also with not allowing them to sit like that. It would be great if you could help with educating your child’s pre-school teacher or day care worker that w-sitting is not a ‘good’ or recommended way of sitting for kids (below are a list of preferred sitting postures). The more people that are aware of this, the less it will become the sitting posture of choice for our kids!
‘Good’ or Preferred Sitting Postures:

  • Tailor sitting (criss cross applesauce)
  • Ring sitting
  • Side sitting
  • Long sitting
  • Kneeling

Featured Guest Blogger: Stacy Menz, DPT, Board Certified Pediatric Clinical Specialist
Stacy, Starfish Therapies’ founder, is a pediatric physical therapist with both a Masters and a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Boston University and is a board certified pediatric clinical specialist. She stumbled into this field when she realized she would get to play with kids all day long! In reality, she loves making a difference in the lives of kids and their families. In addition to doing rehabilitative work with kids, she also promotes overall wellness and prevention of developmental delays through education. Stacy is actively involved in her professional organizations and is on the editorial board of Impact, the publication of the Private Practice Section of the APTA, and serves on the education committee of the Pediatric Special Interest Group for the California Physical Therapy Association. Stacy and her colleagues are also actively involved in research and have an article submitted for publication.
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