When do babies learn to sit up? Learn more about this important developmental skill and how you can support it in your child.
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As it usually goes with developmental milestones, your baby will be ready for the next big skill achievement well before you are! Little ones move through these early stages so incredibly fast!
When do babies learn to sit up?
Generally, babies are able to sit up unsupported between 4 and 7 months. First, they have to gain the head, neck, and core strength to be able to hold themselves up against that pesky gravity! They gain this strength through tummy time and then eventually, by playing and rolling around on the floor.
How can you help your baby learn to sit up?
1 || Tummy time
This is one of the most important ways to help your baby develop the muscle strength and control needed for sitting.
2 || Assisted pull to sit
Hold your baby’s hands, arms, or trunk (depending on how strong and ready she is for sitting) and help her to pull herself up to sit after you have changed her diaper.
3 || Bouncing play
Sit your baby on your lap and lightly support him at the hips or trunk. Try bouncing both knees at once, helping the baby keep his balance. Then try lifting one heel at a time so the baby bounces/leans from side to side with your support/assistance as needed. Try swaying your knees from side to side.
4 || Therapy ball play
With very close hands on supervision, try sitting your baby on an exercise or therapy ball. Stabilize the baby carefully at the hips or trunk and gently bounce, rock side to side, and rock back and forth.
5 || Reaching in sitting
Once your baby is getting stronger in a sitting position, try offering favorite toys to her so she has to reach for them outside of her base of support. This is a great balance challenge.
6 || Sitting in a hideout
Practicing sitting in a cardboard box or laundry basket with close supervision is a great way to help your baby feel secure while also providing extra support in case of falls. You can also use cushions for even more support.
7 || Songs and finger plays
Songs and finger plays are a great way to entertain babies and encourage longer periods of sitting.
8 || Bean bag balance
This little game is a simple way to provide entertainment in sitting. Place a bean bag on the baby’s head and show her how to lean forward to dump it off onto her lap or into your hands.
More about how babies learn to sit up…
As you practice these things, you will gradually notice that your child’s head will be more steady and upright on her shoulders, she will sway back and forth on her base of support less, and she will be able to maintain that position for longer periods of time.
Babies learn to transition through all phases of development by moving their bodies and experiencing the cause and effect of those movements. If your baby topples while sitting, it’s okay! She learned that she has protective extension reflexes to keep her safe. She learned that she will have to have the perseverance to get up and try it again. She learned that she can’t reach out so far for that shiny, colorful toy until she gets a bit stronger.
She also learned another important lesson — how to get out of sitting!! Granted, she will get a bit more graceful at it with practice! :) As a rule of thumb, don’t force your baby to sit with support until she begins to show signs of being able to get there herself!
Once she is sitting up, you will notice that your baby will begin to explore other positions. She may pivot to the side to grab her favorite toy. She may seemingly fold herself in half by reaching way forward over her legs. She may even get her legs tucked under her and find a w-sitting position. As she becomes more comfortable and confident in the sitting position, your baby will be on a mission to move and will eventually move onto all fours and steadily progress to crawling.
And from there, watch out! Even bigger things, like walking will be here before you know it!
Find some of our favorite development-boosting activities for babies here.