Teaching your baby how to sit up is an amazing milestone in their first year.
It’s a major step forward in their physical development and there are lots of things you can do to help them along the way.
As with many of the mental and physical leaps your baby will go through in the first year, they respond best when you make it fun.
So when encouraging your baby to learn a new skill like sitting up unaided, try to keep fun at the centre of everything you do.
If you try any of these activities or toys and your baby isn’t loving it, then stop and try again another day, or try something different.
The main thing is to be persistent with giving your baby a chance to try out new positions and show them how they can move their body in different ways.
This post is going to give you some activities and top tips for teaching your baby how to sit up on their own!
You don’t need a whole lot of fancy toys to do this, although there are some recommendations in this post. You can help your baby learn to do anything with just interaction between the two of you and consistency.
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When will your baby learn to sit up?
Your baby will be able to sit up with help from you at between three and five months.
The next stage is sitting independently once you have popped them into position at around six months. They should become more stable by around seven months and be able to get themselves into a sitting up position.
Once they are sitting up independently they may still be quite wobbly for a while, but they should become steady by around nine months.
Your baby starts the journey to build the strength to sit up right from the early weeks when they are building up their neck strength.
Rolling over is also a crucial skill in helping your baby learn how to manipulate themselves up into a sitting upright position.
The following activities help to strengthen your baby’s key muscles for sitting up, as well as enable them to practice and show them what great fun it is to sit up.
Simple ways to encourage baby to sit up unaided
With all of these activities it’s important to always supervise your baby, as you would at any other time.
Make sure the area where you are going to practice sitting up with them has a softer floor and avoid practicing on a bed unless you will be holding onto them the entire time.
1. Tummy time
Your baby’s tummy time is crucial for developing the strength in their neck muscles so that they can hold up their own head.
You should aim to do some tummy time with your baby every day from birth. They may not like it at all at first, but you can do a few activities to make it a little more fun for them.
Try using toys such as mirrors and rattles to distract them. Propping your baby up on a cushion can also help them feel more comfortable.
Tummy time doesn’t need to last ages, even if you just manage five minutes here and there during the day you will have given your baby a chance to get practice lifting up their head.
Try these top tips for having tummy time without any tears.
2. Sit them upright on your lap
Your baby should be steady with holding up their head at around four months.
But you can support them to sit upright on your lap before this by making sure you provide support for their back and head.
Try lying down on your back on the floor and sit your baby on your tummy. Bring your legs up so your thighs are supporting your baby’s back and head, and hold them underneath their armpits with your hands.
Now chat away to your baby, pull faces or sing them a song. This is a great way to show them this new perspective when playing with you.
3. Prop baby up on a cushion
A boppy cushion is perfect for helping to support your baby so they can sit upright without you needing to hold onto them.
The C section provides support around their back and sides, while the shape also means if your baby falls back or forwards they will land on something soft.
Your baby will be able to do this from around three to four months.
4. Use a jumparoo
Your baby can start to use a jumper, or jumparoo, from around three to four months.
It’s best to wait until they have some strength in their neck and are holding up their head well.
The jumparoo is great as it shows baby how much fun being upright can be! There are tons of jumpers on the market, and you really do not have to spend a fortune on this type of toy.
It’s not an essential toy, but I found both of my kids absolutely loved their jumper.
The jumper is also perfect if you are doing something like cooking dinner. Your baby cannot get out so you can leave them to play in one corner while you get on with what you need to do.
5. Sit baby up in a high chair
Use a high chair to give your baby some practice at sitting up, with some back support.
You can do this from around four to six months.
Put some toys on the tray in front of the high chair for them to grab hold of and play with.
6. Place toys vertically out of reach
Toys that require your baby to keep their head up so they can look at them are great.
It’s also good if the toys have buttons so your child needs to reach upwards towards them to play.
Place them in a sitting position next to these toys and they will see that they get use of both hands in order to play with the toy, which is much easier than straining to reach from their tummy.
I love this walker, which your child can use for practice when they are getting up on their feet, but with all of the buttons on the front is ideal for a baby who is just sitting up.
7. Try a sit-up toy
There are tons of amazing baby seats featuring toys and tons of features to hold their attention.
This will make sitting up practice fun for your baby!
I love these sit-up toys which have some brilliant features to keep your baby amused! They’re really portable too, so you can put it in the garden or pop it in the car to take it to your relative’s home if you’re visiting someone else.
If you don’t want any more toys in your house, whether because of space or cost, why not try a cardboard box?
You can fill it with toys and actually, all kids prefer a big box to an expensive toy anyway!
8. Sit baby up between your legs
Once your baby is sitting up with some help from you, try putting them between your legs either facing outwards or towards you.
Sing nursery rhymes with them, or let them explore some toys with their hands while you hold them up.
You could try a sensory box containing thing such as:
- Pine cones
9. Sit baby up like a tripod
Your baby’s first attempts at sitting without your help is likely to involve their arms for balance. This is called the tripod sit.
Your baby’s legs will be in front of them or out to the sides and they will lean forwards on their arms for balance.
Your baby may still have a few wobbles over in this position but pop them back into it as often as you can so they get to practice.
Try dangling a few toys down from above to encourage them to reach upwards for them.
10. Encourage baby to “ring sit”
The ring sit is where your baby’s legs are in the shape of a ring. It helps them to keep their balance so that their hands are free to explore and do other things.
11. Play with a learning table
A low level learning table is brilliant for encouraging your baby to stay sitting up for longer, as they get to explore so much more!
It will also grow with them, as when they are learning to stand it will also help them to pull up onto their feet.
Final thoughts on activities to help your baby sit up without help
Your baby will love trying out these simple play ideas and you will notice a real difference in their sitting if you do them regularly.
Remember to set a little time aside each day to sit your baby up and help them realise how much fun it is to see the world around them from a different point of view!
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