Sitting is a fun and exciting milestone in your baby’s life. However, sitting doesn’t happen overnight - it happens in stages and identifying which stage your baby is in will help you support them by providing them with appropriate activities.
1. 3 - 5 months
At this age your child can sit with support. They do not have the strength and control required to sit up independently, but when given the right support, they can hold their heads up. They need significant support, which can be provided by placing them in your lap and firmly holding their rib cage with both your hands. Follow their lead and slowly reduce how firmly you hold them.
- Provide them with toys to grasp, mouth and kick while in this position.
- Sit in front of a mirror in a way that your baby can see your reflection as well as theirs
- Hang toys from a play gym for your baby to try to grass
2. 4 - 6 months
Many babies this age begin to sit using both their hands as support. To grab their attention, place objects in front of them that do not need them to use their hands - visual stimulation cards work well! Slowly, once you notice your baby is ready to start lifting one hand and maintain their balance with the other, place a light rattle within their arm’s reach or the rainbow spinner from the level 3 Montessori Box which is designed to be used with one hand initially and both lands when the child is more comfortable sitting.
3. 5 - 7 months
Your baby is very comfortable sitting with the support of two hands now and slowly will start to experiment lifting one hand and eventually both. However, what they do not necessarily have at this age is the awareness of falling and hurting themselves, so look out … you need to be extra vigilant during this stage! Some tips to make this stage of sitting safe
- Place a nursing pillow around your child
- Clear the space around them ensuring there isn’t something that can hurt them if the fall
- Use a soft foam mat underneath
- Place your child in a cardboard carton with cushions on all sides
- Independent sitting is very important for language acquisition and development of focus and attention. As your baby learns to sit up independently, they can turn their heads around and follow voices and sounds. They can use both hands to work with toys and books. They become more aware of their capabilities and can develop their fine and gross motor skills.
- While it can be tempting to put your baby in containers like a booster seat or bouncer, research shows that it is best to place your baby on a padded mat on the floor.
- Continue to give your baby lots of tummy and back time horizontally on the floor so that they continue to strengthen their neck and core muscles.