If you’re a parent, you probably know the relief that comes along with watching your little ones take a break from running around in favor of sitting down to read, write, and color. While these restful activities give parents peace of mind, these seemingly innocuous moments can actually harm kids in the long run.

The damage has nothing to do with crayons or picture books, and everything to do with the way your kids are sitting.

If you peek over your computer screen right now, you might find your children sitting with their legs in a W-shaped position. This pose is loved by little ones all over because of the comfort and stability that come along with it.

By jutting their legs out to the side, wobbly kiddos can add a bit of lateral support to their coloring sessions.

Unfortunately, sitting like this can take its toll over the years. Long-term side effects can include orthopedic defects, developmental problems, and postural control issues.

Here’s what a child’s posture looks like while sitting in the W position. Fanning their legs out actually hinders their ability to sit up straight, which can weaken back muscles over time.

And here’s what happens when little ones tuck their legs under their bums instead. While they’ll still have to reach down to play with their toys, the position helps stabilize and support the lumbar regions of their backs.

Another great alternative is this classroom favorite:

Sitting with crossed legs is comfy and far more joint friendly!

(via Diply)

While children might feel more comfortable sitting in the W position right now, they’ll thank you one day when they grow up with healthy joints and stable spines. It’s amazing how one simple fix can save kids from so much pain later on!