A Guide to Sitting Up at 6 Months

You're still in charge of the spit up though.

 

Sitting up is a huge milestone market for your baby. Let’s dig into why.

Motor skills play a critical role in early development and shape the child’s learning environment. Most babies learn to sit without support close to the 6-month mark. This is a thrilling time that prepares your child to more meaningfully explore the world around them. 

While it’s an exciting milestone in itself, the act of sitting also signifies that your child has more control over the body’s core muscles, also referred to as the trunk. At this stage your baby is relying on their core to prop their body up and stay balanced. This is important because exploring the world around them is a whole body exercise. 

Related: The First 1,000 Days, When Nutrition Matters Most

A study published in the journal Pediatrics highlights the importance of early motor skills as an agent of change over time. The same findings suggest a cause and effect relationship between motor skills and subsequent language learning in developing infants.  Additionally, better control of the self-sitting posture is correlated with better hand coordination in reaching for objects.

Akhgar Ghassabian, a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health and lead author of the study explained to CNN, “Our findings are consistent with those of longitudinal studies performed a few decades ago, showing that the age a child achieved major milestones of standing or walking were predictors of later child performance in memory.”

Want to know more? Download the entire study here. 

At 6 months, babies are already making invisible calculations about the things around them. They are assessing the spatial and physical properties of objects, how far out of reach it is, and if they will use one or two hands to hold an object. Again, the ability to sit without support, control their core, and handle more objects, is believed to create a cascade of benefits for cognitive and physical development. In many ways, it is logical — the more a baby can interact with the world, the more the baby can learn from it. Researchers have found that sittings skills around this period were correlated with better vocabularies at 10 and 14 months of age. So sit your baby up at different zones of the home and let them interact with their environment. 

Tips to help your child learn to sit:

  1. Gently give them support. You can gently hold their lower hip bones. Reduce support as they get more confident in sitting. 
  2. Add toys to the lesson, to give them an incentive to move and prop themselves up. 
  3. Let them safely and gently fall over. In what will be a metaphor in life, you have to let your kid lose their balance and topple over every now and then, so they can learn to use their muscles to prevent falling. When teaching them to sit, you can surround their area with soft materials, like blankets, to cushion their fall. 

Sources:

Libertus, Klaus & Violi, Dominic. (2016). Sit to Talk: Relation between Motor Skills and Language Development in Infancy. Frontiers in Psychology. 7. . 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00475. 

Rochat, P. and Goubet, N., Development of sitting and reaching in 5- to 6-month-old infants. Infant Behav. Devel., 1995, 18, 53–68. 

Akhgar GhassabianRajeshwari SundaramErin BellScott C. BelloChristopher Kus and Edwina Yeung

Let’s build a healthier generation together