I have shared many articles over the years about the dangers of the "W sit". It's a topic that I'm passionate about and I love sharing this knowledge with families. Many don't know the dangers of this sitting position, but it is not a healthy posisiton for anyone and can lead to potentially serious othopedic problems over time. While many articles can be hard to read on the dangers of this, I thought it would be helpful to outline the dangers in an easy to read, one mom to another mom, article.
Children innocently slip into the "W sit" mostly while playing. I've seen it hundreds of times in my classes, especially preschool classes. If you've ever watched my classes, when I see a child sitting in the W sit, I always gently move their legs to another position. W sitting can lead to dislocated hips along with low muscle tone. For a relatively young child, this sit can add alot of stress to their hips and hamstrings which can have an array of effects on their growth. In addition, their upper body has a significant decreased range of motion. Over time, this can lead to upper body weakness.
It's important to show children other options for sitting. While some studies show little to no effects from W sitting, many studies have shown quite alarming effects. Either way, as a mom and a professional who works with children, I can't take any chances. My goal is to keep children as healthy and as active as possible. I share that passion with you in that I want to see them reach all of their milestones for gross motor skills and muscle developments.
So how do you correct a W sitter? One mom to another mom, don't start stressing right this moment. There's no need to run in the other room beating this new information into the heads of your children. Over time, offer your child other ways to sit. If you see them playing in the W sit, gently move their legs to another position. If you feel they are old enough to understand, explain the dangers to them. This is a "habit" that can be corrected and if remedied early enough, will be fine.
Again, I've seen this sit hundreds of times in my classes. A gentle encouragement to change sitting positions usually does just the trick. Children pick up on a lot more than we think. They usually get the picture over the course of a few weeks and almost never resort back to that position in my classes. Much love moms!