Many parents know that “W” sitting isn’t optimal but it’s often thought to be a behavioral choice rather than a neurological one. If you understand why your child sits like this then you can gain more useful tools to help correct the way they sit.
Kids that sit in a “W” may need a wider base due to poor balance. If they sit on knees together, they may have the sensation of tipping so they adapt by widening their base to be able to do what they want without consequence. The beauty of understanding this is we can help drive specific brain input through the vestibular (inner ear) and proprioceptive systems (muscles and joints).
A lot of what pediatric chiropractors do to help kids is ask parents or caregivers a bunch of questions about developmental milestones, specific activities the parents may notice, if the child favors certain movements and then we combine it with observation. Kids don’t tell us their balance is poor but we can see it in how they walk or maneuver in the world.
Based on the answers to these questions, we not only can provide “brain” input through an adjustment but we also will give parents at-home activities to continue to drive those pathways. This is called “neuroplasticity” where we lay the long term groundwork for optimal brain funciton.
There is a primitive reflex that can be associated with this type of sitting. A primitive reflex is like the roots to a tree. They are necessary for the growth of the tree but we want them to go underground. Same thing for kids. These reflexes are important for development but we want them to disappear so the cognitive part of the brain can continue to mature and grow. An example of a primitive reflex is when you put your finger in a baby’s hand and they grasp it. Most of these reflexes should be gone by about a year depending on which stage of development they are in.
The primitive reflex that may be retained in kid that “W” sits is called Symmetric Tonic Neck Reflex or STNR. This reflex gets integrated when a child rocks back and forth on their knees before beginning to crawl. If your child skipped this step, it can be inhibiting their continued brain maturation and may be part of why they sit in a “W”. The awesome thing is that it’s never too late to alter brain pathways!! The at-home activity may consist of doing that very activity – rocking back and forth on the knees for at least 30 days.
Additional at-home activities may include spinning, joint or arm/leg massages, and/or balancing on one leg more than the other – it’ll all depend on your child’s intake and exam. That’s why we say that every child deserves chiropractic. This may be “normal” to your child but the question is to whether it’s optimal. We want to help give your child the best foundation possible as these items can be connected to how they do in school later.
If you have any concerns about your child, please listen to that intuition! It’s there for a reason and don’t hesitate to bring them in for an appointment. We don’t rush kids or force them into anything. We make it fun while providing the best input for their brain!
Call us today to ask any questions you may have regarding chiropractic care for your child 952-474-1949.