#MilestoneMonday / Sitting
Sitting up is a crucial component for an infant’s development; this is because this gives the child a completely new perspective of their environment. Also, and perhaps more importantly, sitting allows your infant to use their hands for purposeful play and interaction (i.e. with toys, parents, etc.). As a milestone, independent sitting is expected at around the 6 month mark. But, as with all milestones, this age is an average age, and variability is to be expected.
Before one can sit independently, they must have the necessary neck and trunk control to be able to control their posture in a vertical position. This is where those sessions of ‘tummy time’ yield their results to build the neck strength that allows a child to control their head against gravity. Sitting must also be practiced safely and with support. Support can be provided by a parent or with a pillow; to start, provide this support near the chest level to allow the child to remain upright and play with their hands. As their posture control improves, allow the level of support to fall lower on their trunk, until your support is at their pelvis. When the child is able to sustain this position confidently (with your hand on their pelvis), begin encouraging weight shifting on their pelvis by placing toys within their reach to the side, behind and in front as they are sitting. As they are reaching out to a side, guide them to weight bear onto the arm that is on the same side of the object, promote them to reach with the opposite hand and allow the opposite buttocks to lift by relaxing the support on their pelvis on that side; then return to a sitting position. This task will allow the child to begin to understand how their pelvis interacts with the ground. As they continue to refine these skills and become stronger, try removing support but remain close-by in case of any falls. Or, better yet, perform these practice sits on a soft surface to allow for safe falling.
After sitting is mastered, you can expect more play in this position, transitions into and out of sitting, and continued progression for verticality, namely weight bearing on their feet with support.
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