Have you heard of W Sitting?
The photo above is supposed to be upside down. It’s of my 4yo on her second birthday, excitedly opening her presents.
As you can see, she used to W Sit – so called due to the W shape the legs make behind the person if you are looking at them from a certain angle (or turn a photo upside down). Hubby & I only discovered how bad sitting like this is earlier this year.
4yo was a very late walker, taking her first fully independent steps at 19m & 1w. We weren’t overly concerned, mainly because quite a few friends with older kids said theirs either talked well from early on, but didn’t walk until later than their little peers, or vice versa.
We clearly had an ‘early talker, late walker’ on our hands which was just fine. It was only around 18m I started feeling that her not walking was becoming a hindrance, as all her little friends were on their feet by then and she was getting a bit left out. Maybe that was in my head though?
Fast forward two years to the beginning of 2013, and a friend said she needed to talk to me about something really important. She said that a friend of hers had told her about the dangers of W Sitting and after googling it immediately though of my 4yo. I was really pleased she’d spoken to me because we had no idea at all, and just thought most kids sit like this because they find it more comfortable. Although dipping in and out of this position is generally nothing to worry about, when it becomes their default seated position it can cause real problems for the child.
It’s not only linked to late walking in toddlers, but other conditions which I’ve listed below
– poor coordination and balance meaning simple childhood exercise like jumping and skipping are very difficult. Our then 3½ yo couldn’t cross her legs at all, and was only able to jump a tiny bit off the ground
– bad posture
– weak muscle tone
– hyper mobility/flexibility
– long term knee damage
– pigeon toe
Once we knew how bad it was, we immediately set to work and would correct her every time she sat down. It took us about six months to entirely banish W Sitting from our house, and reverse any damage that had been done to that point.
The photo above shows our girl in the middle sitting the way she used to, but now she automatically sits the way her two friends are. This situation highlighted to me how important it is to share information with friends, especially when it concerns the children. Even if it might upset the other person short term, you are almost always doing them a favour in the long run.
I honestly think that 4yo would have really struggled with the physical side of being a kid had we not eradicated this as early as we did.