Ever Heard of Sitting in the "W" Formation?

Updated on October 01, 2010
S.H. asks from Fredericksburg, VA
7 answers

My son was evualuated by early intervention and the first thing they noticed was that he sits in a w formation. Apparently, it is a sign of low muscle tone and bad for their hips and joints. It can cause developental delays as well. Anyone have any experience with this? How did you help you child stop?

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answers from Washington DC on

What the physical therapist said is true. My son did it too. I just rearranged his body into what we used to call "indian style." now called "criss cross applesauce" in school. A physical position can cause physical problems, but not developmental delays in other areas. The language delay is another area entirely, but a part of your child's overall disablity (if he truly has one). Super Duper Publications is a great resource for toys, CDs, computer games, and activities you can use at home to help facilitate language. The website is superduperinc.com. It is for speech therapists, but also for parents.

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answers from Richmond on

Wow, I did a google search on w-sitting. I was unaware they had a name for this. I thought my son was just limber and a little clumbsy. He never had any developmental delays, just not that graceful with running and overall balance. From what I was able to gather the main thing is to discourage them from sitting in that position. One mother said she invested in a small table and chair set for her child to sit at and play. My sister in law had a bumbo, but I don't think this will work with a child that "up and running". As far as my son is concerned, I think I am going to replace the coffee table with his table and chair set to encourage him to sit and play at it!! Thanks for opening my eyes!! Hope all works out for your little guy!!
Jennifer H.

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answers from Harrisburg on

As a former early intervention speech therapist, I saw that "w" sitting is very common. When I worked with young children that prefer to sit in a "w", I would frequently remind them to "criss cross applesauce" (sit "indian" style) when we were playing together. It takes lots of reminding and encouragement on your part to help him to change.

Good work on your part on reaching out for Early Intervention Services at such a young age:)

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answers from Charlottesville on

My son, who is 2 1/2 years old now, started out sitting like that and now sits both ways (on his bottom and on his knees). He is ahead of most on his motor skills and extremely active. Our doctor said that it was nothing to worry about and very normal. I wouldn't attribute anything out of the ordinary for it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

There's a book you should check out called Why Motor Skills Matter. It should help answer all of your questions.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My daughter sits in the "W" position. I didn't know it was bad until her last doctor's appointment in December. I asked them if it was normal for her to be so clumsy, and they said it was because of sitting like that. Her doc told me that a ballet class (or ice skating when she gets older) are really good for tightening up the muscles, etc.

She will still sit like that every once in a while, but she usually notices it and says 'Don't sit like that!' and moves. When we first started, we would move her legs out in front of her...we have a Play-Doh activity center that has a little tray that goes over their legs, and that seemed to help a lot - I would bring it to her and put it over her legs so she couldn't put them back in the W, and it distracted her enough so she didn't want to!

Good luck!! :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Evansville on

Sitting in the w-formation for long period of time can cause low upper body muscle tone and problems with a child's joints as they get older. It can cause children to not interact or play becuase of the inability to move around as easily. Once the child reaches school age sitting at a desk may become uncomfortable. The best way to help a child overcome the w-formation is to gently pull the legs out and model correct ways to sit. For example Indian Style, or legs out front or to the side. Then when you notice the w-formation just simply say fix your legs and the child will know what you want.

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