W-Sitting Vs Criss Cross

Updated: Oct 26, 2021


W-sitting is a compensation sitting pattern. Children will sit with the weight distributed through their pelvis, knees and ankles (looks like a W). They will then feel stable enough to not use their core muscles to sit up straight.

Criss Cross

Criss cross is the typical seated position for children. Their weight is distributed solely through their pelvis; allowing them to use their core muscles to sit upright.

Ring Sit

Ring sitting is common amongst babies or children with low muscle tone. They will sit on their bottom with the legs in front of them in a "ring" or circular position. This is typical and beneficial for babies to build their core strength.

What if my child already W-sits?

If your child is already sitting in a W-sit start correcting them by moving their legs into the criss cross and then verbally cueing them to fix their legs. Over time, they will get more used to sitting in criss cross versus W-sitting. There are also some core exercises you can do to help strengthen your child's core muscles.

What are the long term effects of W-sitting?

Long term W-sitting can cause permanent hip and knee changes. It can cause children to walk with in-toeing (pigeon toed). It can also cause hip and knee pain as they age.

What are some core exercises I can do with my child?

  • playing sitting in criss cross or ring sit and reaching up to engage with toys

  • playing in prone (on their belly), ex. doing a puzzle laying on their belly

  • playing in supine (laying on their back and reaching up with legs and arms), ex. laying on their back and clipping clothespins on a rope

  • sitting on an exercise ball

  • swimming is an awesome core and over all strengthening activity

  • playing on their knees ex. kneeling at an easel for drawing or coloring

What if my child can't get into the criss cross position?

If you are experiencing this please contact me! Their hamstrings might be too tight.

If you are concerned about your child's core strength or seated positions please contact me for additional assistance!

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