Teaching Children to Sit

Teaching child to sit

Sitting is an exciting milestone that provides children the opportunity to explore the world in a brand new way! In this post we share some Sitting Tips and Tricks to Help Teaching Child to Sit Independently! 

The Seven Stages of Sitting

Each child develops at their own pace, so allow your child time to gain comfort and control in each of these stages.

 The precursors to Teaching Child to Sit involve:

  • Head/neck control
  • Upper body strength
  • Postural control
  • Trunk strength and stability
  • Static balance
  • Dynamic balance
  • Symmetric weight bearing through lower extremitiesProneprop

1. Horizontal Head/Neck Control: during Tummy Time child is able to push up on hands to gaze horizontally.supportedsitting

2. Vertical Head/Neck Control: when held upright child is able to hold head up against gravity.

Supported sitting

3. Static Support Sitting: child is able to maintain Supported Sitting, with caregiver hands on assistance

Supported Sit Boppy

4. Dynamic Support Sitting: child is able to utilize dynamic support surface (Boppy, couch cushions) to maintain sitting.

tripod sitting

5.  Independent Tripod Sitting: child is able to support body with upper extremities.


staticsit

6. Independent Static Sitting: child still requires close supervision for safety, but is able to maintain erect sitting posture for short durations.

Baby blocks

7. Functional Independent Sitting: child is now able to manipulate toys, reaching across body and overhead without loss of balance!

Independence in sitting requires many complex skills, coordination, balance, strength, and body/safety awareness. I have broken down our exercise and activity recommendations into the element of sitting addressed by each and assist with Teaching Child to Sit Independently.

Exercise and Activity Recommendations

Trunk Strength Exercises

tummy time ball1. Tummy Time on Therapy Ball

Tummy Time Wedge2. Tummy Time on Incline Ramp

tummytimewedgecushion3. Tummy Time on Dyna-Disc or Wedge Cushion

dyna disc sitting

4. Supported Sitting on Dyna-Disc 

Abetherapyball5. Supported Sitting on Therapy Ball

prone bolster
6. Quadruped Over Foam Roller

Transitional Skills to Assist with Teaching Child to Sit

Aberoll1     Aberoll2     Aberoll3

1. Supine to Prone

IMG_4993

2. Prone to Sitting

sidelying-to-sit.jpg

3. Sidelying to Sitting

Side Sit to Tall Kneel

4. Side Sitting to Kneeling

sit to quadruped
5. Sit to Quadruped

Balance Reactions to Assist with Teaching Child to Sit

Weight shifting lapOn Lap

Abetherapyball2On Therapy Ball

Hand Eye Coordination Activities

Baby Prone Play gym1. Visual Tracking/Reaching in Prone. 

We recommend: Play Gym, Tactile Links, O-Ball Rattle

supported sitting reaching2. Visual Tracking/Reaching in Supported Sitting. 

We recommend: Sensory Ball SetTactile Ring Stacker, Stacking Cups

images-153. Visual Tracking/Reaching in Independent Sitting. 

We recommend: Soft blocks, Elemenosqueeze blocks, Stack and Roll Cups

quadruped reaching4. Visual Tracking/Reaching in Quadruped. 

We recommend: Crawl Along Snail, O-Ball Rattle and Roll Car, Tactile Ball Set

Toys for Teaching Child to Sit

o-ballRequire bilateral manipulation

We recommend: O-Ball Rainstick and the O-ball Rattles

                                                             baby sitting images-2 images

Encourage reaching, crossing midline

We recommend the Ball RampStar Stacker, Shape Sorter

                                                          714Bl2J1V0L._SL1500_sit to stand basketballsitting play table

Facilitate weight bearing and weight shifting

We recommend a set of Mega Blocks, Sit to Stand Basketball, Play Table

                                       piggy bank sittingpeg puzzlepeg board

Encourage fine motor control and coordination

We recommend the Fisher Price Piggy Bank, Knob Puzzles, Peg Board

Future Developmental Positions

Once you have succeeded in Teaching Child to Sit, here are a few suggestions to promote further motor development!

Abekneels

1. Kneeling at Support Surface (seen here Bucket Bridge)

TallKneel

2. Tall Kneeling (with hands free to engage)

cube chair

3. Sitting at Cube Chair (with feet bearing weight through floor)

Abehalfkneel

4. Half Kneeling at Dynamic Support Surface 

Bolster Cube Chair Sit2Bolster Cube Chair Sit

5. Sitting on Bolster or Peanut Ball (with feet bearing weight through floor)

We hope you enjoyed this post with helpful tips for Teaching Child to Sit!

Learn more about future Motor Milestones here! And remember to enjoy every moment, each day is a victory and each accomplishment no matter how small should be celebrated!

Motor Milestones 7-12

Learn more about Dinosaur Physical Therapy!

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  • My son is almost 18months. I have no concerns about his physical development except that he does not sit in tall kneeling. He hates it. Is this something I should be working on?

    • Hi Jillian! Thank you for your question! Tall kneeling is a really nice developmental position as it allows development of trunk strength/stability while promoting weight bearing through knees. It is not a necessary position, but a great “developmental option”. Have you tried finding different surface heights to facilitate kneeling at? My son loved the cube chair, we also stack couch cushions and place his books atop them to encourage kneeling while engaged in reading and flipping the pages!

      • I’ve tried a few things, but he’ll usually just stand up even if it means he needs to bend over a bit. Seems he really just does not like it. Maybe it bothers his knees

  • Great post! Thank you for this information! My son is turning 6 months this week and falls over from a sitting position after a few seconds without a prop or person to hold him up. He has done a good amount of tummy time since birth and I have been working on transitioning into sitting a little.

    My question is how is his floor time best spent (what percentage of time spent on on tummy time versus supported sitting versus other exercises)? I have read that persistent tummy time at this age lends itself to the child independently transitioning into sitting when ready. Have you found that to be the case, or is supported sitting important at this age and to what degree? Thanks so much for your insight!

    • Hi Jessica! Great question! Tummy Time continues to be important as children begin to transition to quadruped (on all fours) and begin creeping and eventually crawling forward. In terms of mobility you can encourage forward movement by putting motivating objects just slightly out of reach. You can also help facilitate motor planning the transition to sitting and then spend some time weight shifting to address trunk strength/balance reactions. Then allowing the transition from sitting back onto belly. Transitional movements are a big focus at this stage. Sounds like your son is right on track from a gross motor development perspective! Feel free to reach out with any additional questions via email at info@dinopt.com! More than happy to be a resource for you!