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When your little one learns to sit, it is a moment of great pride and accomplishment both for him and his mom! Sitting exposes your child to a whole new world and perspective on things, letting him play with his toys better and gain more control over his body language. However, did you know that there is a common posture many kids adopt in their early years that can seriously damage their health?
As parents, this is the sitting posture you must guard against: w-sitting. It involves children sitting on their bottoms with their knees bent. Their feet are tucked under while their legs are out to the side. The overall posture looks like a “W” as shown below. This style is very easy to follow and comes naturally to many kids who are learning to sit. You too may have noticed your little one playing with her toys sitting in a w-position. It appeals to kids as they can balance themselves easily in this position.
However, sadly, there is a risk of your child developing nasty orthopaedic problems thanks to this position! The most common problem associated with this posture is hip dislocation. It also restricts trunk rotation, twists and turns that prevent the development of mature movement patterns. In the long run, it impacts motor skills, balance and coordination in your child and exposes him to a lifelong risk of weak trunk muscles! Keeping this in mind, you must learn smart ways to encourage better posture habits in kids.
How to Correct Improper Sitting Positions in Children
1. Sit Criss-Cross!
Every time you see your child sitting in a w-shape, teach her to sit cross-legged. One of the most important cross-legged sitting benefits for kids is free torso movement, which accounts for flexibility in them. Your little one might take a little time to get used to sitting criss-cross, so help her by holding her knees together when she sits, till she can comfortably sit criss-cross on her own.
2. Break her Habit
Toddlers have a natural tendency of sitting in a w-position. So, act before it becomes a firm habit. The moment you notice her sitting in a w-shape, immediately ask her to fix her legs. If your child is sitting with legs crossed comfortably, then you have nothing to worry about. In case, she isn’t yet comfortable in that position, teach her long sitting i.e. stretching her legs straight in front. You may also teach her to bend both her legs on one side and sit on the floor.
3. Booster Seat
W-sitting in a child should be discouraged as it might lead to orthopaedic problems very soon, such as hip dislocation. Make your toddler sit on a chair at the time of eating, playing, art-work etc. See to it that your kiddo is not kneeling on the chair. To prevent such a situation, use a booster seat along with foot support. Such a seat provides the necessary comfort to the little ones and helps in developing correct sitting posture.
4. Her Own Table-Chair!
Children sitting in w-position need to be taught to sit properly in her chair. This will help her in adapting to her school environment, easily. Get a preschooler chair and table, which is usually half the average height of a pre-schooler. Show her how she should keep her tummy away from the table and pull her chair well under the table. Also, make sure her feet are lying flat on the floor. She will soon get habituated to sitting properly at her ‘work table’.
5. Need Help?
If you witness kids sitting criss-cross uncomfortably you might want to consult a paediatrician. If your little one has flat feet, then she might not be able to sit cross-legged as you would want her to. In spite of your efforts, if your child seems to not get the correct sitting posture, consider consulting a specialist.