We have been getting a lot of questions about how to help a baby get into sitting. Here are some tips! Most of these are used with babies that are independently sitting already or are pretty close to independently sitting. That doesn’t mean you can’t play around with it sooner but know that it will be modified and look different. In the video below the baby is only 4 months and not independently sitting so the tips are modified slightly. (Sometimes we have to use the models we have available!)
- Pull to Sit – This can be done even before they are independently sitting. This is a great abdominal exercise and really important for head and trunk control. See our instagram highlight about this activity.
- Reaching – When your little one is sitting independently start practicing reaching activities. It’s best to have the reaching out to the side or off center. Reaching forward and coming back up is going to be easiest for them and they will figure this one out. Reaching to the side and diagonal is harder and is what will work the obliques and challenge the muscles that will help get them into the sitting position. This will also help with transitional movements because we want your little ones to be using rotation and not going straight through the middle for all their movement. They learn to shift their weight and to use their hips and pelvis to counterbalance.
- Break it into Smaller Parts – When your little one is sitting, move them so they are resting on one elbow or hand to the side (so they are leaning away from center). Then have them work to come back up into sitting with you providing assistance as needed. You may put a toy off to the opposite side so they reach for it to help. Start with leaning them onto their hand with their arm extended (easiest) and then eventually go to forearm with the elbow bent (harder). The further away from center they are, the harder they have to work but the more they are preparing for getting up into sitting.
- Use the Ball – We love using the therapy ball. Check out this post to see how you can use it to help your little one learn the mechanics and movements needed to get into sitting. By using the ball you are giving them an assist and letting them learn the movement pattern first, while still working the muscles. Plus the ball is fun!
- Practice – Now just practice the skill. Instead of picking your little one up when they are lying down, or just placing them in sitting, help them to get into sitting on their own. Even if you only do this one or two times a day they will start to learn that sitting is not some magical position they are just placed into, that they can get there on their own!
We can’t wait to hear how your little ones are doing with this skill!