Educational Toys and Tips to
Help Baby Sit Up

You can help baby sit up. Despite what many folks incorrectly believe there are a few things you can do to encourage your child to master this development milestone. And there are a few toys and aids which make things easier. The good news is there are quite a few things you can do to ultimately help your baby master this milestone.

Most of the useful known ways come down to 2 main approaches:

  • Using proven techniques, and…
  • Using toys and aids… or a combination of these 2 approaches

But let's first have a quick look at sitting itself.

Sitting Up: The Basics

Skills to be mastered

There are 4 main skills your baby must master before s/he can sit properly. These skills are…

  • Good head control (holding head upright and turning head to follow objects)

  • Adequate development of trunk muscles

  • Flexibility of leg and hip muscles, and…

  • The ability to take weight on his/her arms

The first clear sign of independently sitting up is when baby stabilizes herself by pressing on the floor to maintain balance and an upright position (as per photo to the right).

When should baby sit up

So, when should Baby sit up? Researchers studied the development of thousands of babies over many years, statistically analyzed the data and determined when Baby should sit up. The appropriate ages are summarized in the table below:

When should baby sit up age summary

Let's now progress by focussing attention on a few techniques and briefly looking at some aids and toys for using to help baby sit up.

Toys & Aids to Help Baby Sit Up

One of your child's first goals of sitting up is to master sitting with some support.

A lounger is probably on of the safest areas where you can encourage your baby to sit up

Probably one of the safest ways to first encourage safely sitting up is in the centre of a lounger similar to this one -- we've often used a similar one to give a cushioned fall in all directions.

In the beginning you encourage such development by providing support mainly at the back and sides. This kind of support come in a number of forms:

  • If your child still falls over to the front, you should consider putting a cushion in front or sitting up in the centre of a lounger, similar to the one in the picture.
  • Other options are to use any of the following aids which may be a bit easier, especially if s/he is already a bit stronger:
Infant floor chair
Infant floor chair
The baby chair is a very simple, yet effective aid to assist your baby on all sites to site upright
Baby chair
The seat positioner not only provides assistance to sit, but also the added visual and perceptual stimulation which every baby needs
Seat positioner

A Simple Way to Help Baby Sit Up

A simple way I've used many times with great success is to sit on the floor as illustrated in the diagram and position the baby between my legs. I like to use this technique even when a baby may still be a bit too young to properly sit up.

I prefer to sit the baby with his back towards me, facing in the same direction. With this technique you'll use your legs for supporting your child from falling to the sides.

This is a simple yet very effective way to initially help baby sit up.

The best way is to again to give your child a few toys to play with while sitting between your legs. Any colorful toy works well here.

What I really like about this technique is that it allows me to not only provide the necessary stability but also feel the reactions of the baby. It also gives me the opportunity to sense when s/he starts sitting unsupported.

And once he reaches that level, you can comfortably start putting him in an open box.

The Easiest Way to Help Baby Sit Up

Although a cardboard box works well to help baby sit up, other similar objects will work equally well
One of the easiest and cheapest ways to help baby sit up is to put your child in a smallish open cardboard box

One particularly powerful technique to stimulate and encourage sitting up is by positioning your baby in a smallish open cardboard box.

I suggest you use cushions and other softs for support, especially when your child is just starting to sit up.

It’s also a great opportunity to give him or her a few toys to play with which should focus attention away from sitting up.

Probably one of the biggest advantages of using a box is that it keeps all toys within your child's reach.

One of the easiest and cheapest ways to first help baby sit up is to put him in a smallish open cardboard box.
Although I only mention a cardboard box here to help baby sit up, other similar objects described below work equally well

Tip: Use a ruler, stick or piece of an old broom onto which you can hang a few toys... effectively a do-it-yourself toy bar. Make sure the length of the stick is slightly longer than the width of the box. Then simply rest the broom or stick with the suspended toys on top of the box.

Your baby’s upright position in the box automatically frees both hands for play which we're going to use by giving a few interesting age-appropriate toys to play with.

Congratulations, you've just created a very powerful way to help baby sit up.

I've not always had the right size cardboard  box around for the little ones I helped, so I improvised by building a 'box' using different large plastic building blocks.

Extremely versatile big waffle blocks
Big waffle blocks
Beginner jumbo blocks
Jumbo blocks
Big, soft building blocks
Soft building blocks

What I really like about using any of these blocks is that they have so many other play uses throughout my child's development years.

As an example: I've used the Big Waffle Blocks to build a box for assisting children to sit as described above, as a crawling tunnel for encouraging crawling, boxes for storing plaything and small play houses.

Another Trusted Way To Help Baby Sit Up

Teaching baby to sit up

Note the hands pressing on the floor in front of the body. Also note how wide the hands are apart to maintain balance... especially in the beginning.

Put your baby in an upright position on the floor and support him at the sides and the back. Now let your child use his hands for support to the front.

As soon as you see your child is able to free his hands, then start giving him toys and other colorful objects to play with.

The Little Tikes toy piano is a great example of a colorful toy and makes sounds to focus your child's attention

Toys in combination with the right techniques will always be a great way to help baby sit up. Note how well positioned the toy piano is to encourage sitting up. Also, it's colorful and makes sounds to focus your child's attention on the toy rather than on trying to sit up.

Colorful toys stimulate your baby and draw focus and attention to the toy. So, while your child is focusing on the toys, he is learning to sit properly.

You’ll also initially see your child reaching out with one hand only until he’s comfortable sitting up. As he gains more confidence, he'll start using both hands for play.

As soon as your baby starts to move his head and look at objects in the vicinity, you’ll know it’s time to start attracting his attention away from merely trying to keep upright.

Careful positioning of toys and colorful objects can be used to encourage and help baby sit up

Careful positioning of toys and colorful objects can successfully be used to encourage and help baby sit up.

At this stage your child has very likely mastered sitting to such a level that he actually takes interest in the surroundings. This is a great time to focus even more attention on other stimulation activities.

Of course, there are commercial variations which more or less attempt to do the same thing... that's focussing baby's attention on something playful and more enjoyable while encouraging the sitting position. Here are a few ones to look at...

3-Stage infant superseat
Infant 3-stage superseat
Sit-me-up floor seat
Sit-me-up floor seat
A carefully positioned activity walker is a wonderful aid to encourage and help baby sit up
Activity walker

Another Easy Way to Help Baby Sit Up

Use the corner of a room... or even a couch. The same principles and techniques apply as in the previous tips.

So, you still need to support your baby to the sides with cushions to prevent accidentally falling over and hitting his head against the wall. Of course, this is not the case when using a couch... as long as there is adult supervision.

Again, give him toys to focus attention away from the sitting position. 

The only reason I believe this alternative is not as good as the previous technique is…

The toys are not always in close proximity to your baby. But over and above that… both options work equally well to help your baby sit up.

The Golden Rule

The golden rule to follow when you want to help your baby sit up is…

Be guided by your child’s interest to get into sitting position and, of course… ability to sit

Look at how your baby lifts himself, controls himself, presses forward and even controls his head. If your child has suitably mastered all of these activities, your baby probably ready to begin sitting up.

But, here’s a word of warning…

The biggest danger of teaching your baby to sit too early is the possibility that your child will fall backwards and hit his head against the floor or any other solid object.

Make no mistake…

At this age your child is definitely not strong enough to control, reduce or even avoid hitting his head when falling backwards. Of course, that’s why I suggest you always place a cushion behind your baby on the floor.

For more information on helping your baby sit up, see this article for more information.

Once your baby starts mastering sitting up, there are quite a few useful chairs and sitting arrangements to strengthen and improve the relevant muscles. Here are a few ideas...

Comfortable infant booster seat
Infant booster seat
Fisher-Price baby booster seat
Fisher-Price booster seat
Infant portable chair
Portable chair

Help Baby Sit Up >> Baby Toys