How Do Babies Learn to Sit? Occupational Therapy Activity Analysis

Baby Sitting Activity Analysis

I watched my 6 months old learn to sit for the first time. It was insightful watching them learn without any teaching from an adult. They learned it from trial-and-error and a lot of repetition. Hopefully, I can film or simulate these methods iin a video. There are probably some on YouTube you may be able to find.

From their Side

Similar to a log roll.

  1. Baby rolls from back to partially on their side.
  2. Baby flexes the side of their hip they are pushing up from with their arms. They bring their leg up almost 90 degrees. This step is key. Try sitting up with your legs straight – it’s nearly impossible.
  3. Baby uses arms to push off ground.
  4. Baby comes into a partially crossed-legged sitting position, using the trunk to maintain sitting balance. At this point, one knee is bent and the other one may be straight.

From Prone

  1. Baby brings knees up, bending them and sticking their bottom upwards in the air. This is the step before coming to the cat yoga pose.
  2. Baby uses arms to push of the ground and come into a kneeling position. This is similar to a tall kneel, but this is a transitional movement so the aby doesn’t come all the way into tall kneeling.
  3. Baby ends up sitting on their legs.
  4. Baby brings legs forward, extending their knees for comfort.

From Cruising

  1. Baby lets go of the object they are holding onto for balance and comes into a sitting position on their bottom. This is often accidental.
Jeff is a licensed occupational therapist and lead content creator for OT Dude. He covers all things occupational therapy as well as other topics including healthcare, wellness, mental health, technology, science, culture, sociology, philosophy, and more.