A few years ago, one of my boys came home from school and complained about carpet time. He said his legs hurt when he had to sit criss-cross applesauce at the carpet. Since all of the kids are expected to sit this way in his class, I just figured he would get used to it and it wasn’t a big deal.
I was doing some reading one day and came across an article about sittings positions for kids…in particular sitting in the classroom on the carpet. It talked a lot about avoiding W-sitting, since it is not great for building the core muscles, can put strain on hips and joints, and has a lack of cross body movements. It also talked about alternative ways for kids to sit on the floor.
It got me thinking of alternative ways for kids to sit at the carpet. Young children are building their gross motor stamina for sitting and every little movement is often fulfilling a sensory need. They are building their core strength and balance and that takes time. We need to offer alternative ways to sit for kids!
Since I am teaching preschool this upcoming school year, I decided to make some posters for my classroom that will display the types of sitting allowed during carpet time.
3 Types of Carpet Sitting
The three options I’m giving my preschoolers are the following: pretzel, mountain, and mermaid. These 3 ways of sitting help keep students’ legs, feet, and hands occupied so they are less likely to bother the classmates around them. Let me explain what each way of sitting looks like.
Mountain sitting looks like the following:
- feet are on the floor
- knees are tucked up
- arms are around your legs
Pretzel sitting is just like the popular criss-cross applesauce sitting. It looks like the following:
- legs are crossed like a pretzel
- hands are in your lap or on your knees
Mermaid sitting is great for children who wear dresses. It looks like the following:
- legs are bent to one side
- feet are next to the legs
- hands are in your lap
Alternative Ways to Sit
Sometimes teachers allow their students to alternative ways, especially if they have more room in their classroom. Here are some more ideas for sitting:
- Elbow Prop – students lay on their bellies and are propped up on their elbows
- Long Sit – students sit with legs straight out in front of their torso
- Lying on Back – students lay on their back and are propped up on their elbows
- Pirate – students hold one leg with the other leg bent underneath. (Looks like a one-legged pirate!)
- Pineapple – students sit with their legs and feet under them, hands on knees.
I love having multiple options for sitting at the carpet because not all students enjoy sitting criss-cross and it makes it easier to redirect when students are having trouble sitting appropriately. They get to choose one of the 3 options of sitting from my posters and that is much better than giving them only one option.
As teachers, we know that one size will never fit all. Sitting in one position will never meet the needs of all children. I encourage you to support your students and allow them choices for sitting so it can help them be better learners since they will be more comfortable sitting on the carpet.
There are 4 poster options for each sitting type and the posters come in color and black & white. If you want to try using these posters, you can download them by clicking the button below!