How to Teach Your Baby to Sit Up
Knowing how to teach your baby to sit up will help them on their way to their first autonomous physical development milestone. Most babies will learn to sit by themselves somewhere between 6 and 8 months, however, it can happen as early as 4 months or as late as 10 months with no cause for alarm. As soon as your baby can support and control its head and has mastered rolling from back to belly, they can start learning to sit. This ‘how to’ list a few things that you can try to encourage development.
1- Help them develop their core strength. Your baby’s back, sides, belly and thigh muscles are essential for supporting sitting and are easy to strengthen. To work all the muscles together, you could hold your baby in a sitting position on a medium sized exercise ball, and slowly roll the ball a couple inches forward, backward, then side to side. As the surface your baby is sitting on angles downward, your baby will automatically lean “uphill”. The muscles are flexed, and the concept of self-correcting for balance is reinforced. Though you can also work each of your baby’s core muscle groups separately, it is a good idea to strengthen them with balance-reinforcing activities.
2- Now you’ve primed as to how to hold themselves up in a sitting position, help them figure out how to get there! One of the best and easiest ways for a baby to get into the sitting position is to first raise them up on his hands and knees, then to walk their hands backward, while letting one leg collapse into a sitting position, then the second one. To teach the technique, you need to walk your baby through the process about 5 or 6 times in a row a couple of times a day. This will help create muscle memory which will give your baby a clear process to follow when they are ready to try it on their own. Start with your baby on their tummy, then help them prop themself up with their arms. Next, push your baby’s legs under them one at a time, keeping one hand under their stomach to lend support in case they collapse. Then, take hold of both of your baby’s arms, moving your hand from under the tummy to hold one, and physically walk them back toward your baby’s knees. Be careful not to let your baby lunge forward during this process, try to keep the balance of weight over your baby’s knees. Try to naturally guide your baby to collapse their legs into a sitting position by leaning to one side and then then the other while walking your baby’s arms more slowly back toward their knees. Once they are in a sitting position, let them enjoy the position for a minute or two, then lay them back onto their stomach, and begin again.
3. You can sit on the floor with your baby in a sitting position between your legs and allow them the opportunity to try it for themselves. Offer maximal safety in the form of blankets and pillows and minimal support, only correcting your baby’s balance a moment before they topple over.
4. The donkey and the carrot. As your baby’s interest in toys develops, you can take advantage by literally dangling a toy just out of their reach. This works for every stage of development although be conscious of not frustrating your baby too much. Don’t outright deny them the use of the toy if they don’t succeed in reaching for it!
5. Encourage independence. Once your baby has the basics down, have the courage to leave them alone for a little while as it will help them develop natural self-confidence and self-reliance. Surround them in pillows and do keep an eye on them as you may need to rush in if they start to topple.
Every baby has their own natural schedule for development, and sometimes they are quite resistant to our attempts to speed it up. Do not fret if development of any sorts is slower than expected as they may be concentrating their efforts elsewhere.