– By Chiropractor Dr Johanna McFadgen
Did you know that repeated sitting in the W-sitting position may affect your child’s developing posture, walking, running and possibly even their learning and hand/eye coordination down the track?
Sitting in a repeated W-sitting position (knees bent in and feet out to the side) or sitting on their feet and ankles (tucked under their bottom) often starts in young children as they transition from sitting to crawling. Often children with lower motor tone or hyper-mobility prefer this position to give them a wider, more stabile base, while learning to sit. However, these positions may cause ongoing issues with kids hips, as well as creating an in-turning of the knees and feet, and flattened foot arches. These positions may also tighten the hamstrings and lower back muscles causing increased sway back postures. It may also affect hand/eye and shoulder movements due to lack of core control.
What can I do if my child sits in the “W-sitting” position?
- Try and stop the sitting habit. Both visual and verbal cues often help kids as you recorrect their sitting positions ie. saying “legs in front” as you reposition their legs.
- Have your child checked by a qualified Chiropractor, Osteopath or Physiotherapist who can assess and treat any ongoing muscle and joint imbalances, and they may also give you some exercises to do to help with core strengthening.
- Tips for home: try movements such as crawling on all fours (tunnels are great for this), climbing to strengthen the muscles of the legs and feet (ladders at the park are great), log rolling along the floor (or in a soft blanket) to help with hip movement and developing balance (through vestibular stimulation) which is important for core strength and coordination.