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Learning to sit

  • 0-1 Years
  • 1-5 Years
  • Child development and growing up
  • Moving and being active
Toddler sitting on the floor in a playroom playing with wooden toys

The ability to sit up will give your baby more independence and a new way to look at the world around them. When your baby is learning to sit use a firm surface such as the floor or carpet. Do not sit them on a bed or cushion.

Remember each baby is unique and will develop at their own speed.

Explore the topics on this page:

Supported sitting 

Unsupported or independent sitting

Supported sitting

Supported sitting is when you or another person supports your baby in a sitting position. It helps your baby learn about being in an upright position before they are able to do this themselves.

To help your baby learn to sit, place them between your legs in a sitting position facing away from you and rest their hands on your knees.

You can help your baby by encouraging them to reach forward while they are in the supported sitting position. This will help them develop their balance while they are sitting which will help them to sit independently.

Activities you can do with your baby in the supported sitting position:

    • sing ‘horsey horsey’ with your baby sitting on your lap, with your knee or leg between their legs
    • sing ‘row your boat’ with your baby sat on your lap and moving backwards and forwards as if you are rowing
Adult leaning over baby girl who is sitting up and reading a book to her.

Unsupported or independent sitting

You can start to encourage your baby to sit independently when they are showing the signs they are ready. When your baby is ready, they can start to sit independently for short periods. Your baby will be able to sit for longer as they build up their balance skills and confidence.

Make sure to supervise your baby whilst they are learning to sit without support. They may not be ready to be left alone. They are still developing their balance skills and may hurt themselves falling over.

Activities you can do with your baby to help them improve their balance skills while sitting:

    • place soft toys in front of your baby to encourage them to reach forward and play
    • place toys further away from your baby so they must stretch and reach for the toys
    • blow bubbles towards your baby so they reach towards the bubbles

While they are learning, make sure to give them lots of encouragement and praise. This will help your baby feel secure.

Once your baby is sitting independently you can also start to introduce solid foods (also known as family foods). Read our information on weaning and introducing solid foods.

Toddler sitting on the floor in a sitting room, playing with toys on the carpet.

Last reviewed: 1 November, 2023

Information

Who can help

If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s development, a health professional in our team will be able to offer advice and support.

You can Call Us on 0300 029 50 50 or Text Us on 07520 649887 to start a conversation.

Open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm (excluding bank holidays).

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