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 encourage children to sit on their own.

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 independent sitting involve head/neck control, upper body strength, postural control, trunk strength and stability, static balance, dynamic balance and symmetric weight bearing through lower extremities.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Exercise and Activity Recommendations

Part 1: Trunk strengthening exercises

1. Tummy Time on the Physio Ball

2. Tummy Time on Incline Ramp

3. Tummy Time on Dyna-disc or Wedge Cushion

4. Supported Sitting on Dyna-disc 

5. Supported Sitting on Physioball

6. Quadruped Over Foam Roller

More tips and tricks on achieving independent sitting coming soon with advice from Dr Rebecca Talmud, Pediatric Physical Therapist and the owner of Dinosaur Physical Therapy, on transitional skills, sitting balance reactions, hand eye co-ordination activities, toys to promote functional sitting and future developmental positions.

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