Milestone moment: Sitting up

Most babies sit on their own between 4-7 months, leaving their hands free to play! Find out how to make the most of this fun milestone.

Learning Stages

By Candace Lindemann

Children's Author & Education Consultant

Candace Lindemann is a published children’s writer and educational consultant. She holds a B.A. from Yale University and an M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. You can also find Candace blogging at While Candace’s degrees prepared her for a career in education, she’s found that the best preparation for parenting is on-the-job training.

Sitting independently is one of my favorite milestones. The cute little frog sit. The weeble-wobble early efforts. Suddenly your baby is ready to interact and has both hands available for play...but she cannot crawl yet. Count this as probably the last time you'll be able to blink without worrying what she's up to. Just be careful where they sit with their still-precarious balance and their interest in small surrounding objects. I once had my little girl in a dressing room and had to pry a pin out of her clenched fist. Two minutes later she suddenly tipped over and bonked her head! I learned my lesson to get on the ground and investigate at baby level before sitting her down anywhere.

Take a seat

At about four to seven months this milestone will open up a new universe of play to your baby. Provide your baby with toys she will appreciate from her new vantage point.

Infants are easily overwhelmed so just set out a few toys at a time. Try offering two toys at first. If your baby still seems overwhelmed or uninterested, scale back to just one toy at a time. Later, you can reintroduce a choice of two or three toys at a time.

A great way to signal to your baby that it is time to explore is to put out a solid-colored "play mat" and then put the new toy on that mat. Some babies will jump right in with the exploration while others will be more hesitant. Avoid dictating how to play but feel free to play with the toy yourself if your baby seems interested but hesitant to pick up the toy. Your baby will delight in watching you play and will soon mimic you. As she develops variations of play, applaud her efforts and play with her. She is learning that play is a fun and safe way to discover what the world has to offer.

Toys to sit with

Building blocks and stacking bowls, musical toys and safe objects with varying textures are perfect for this stage. Toys that explore cause and effect are also a hit at this age. My kids have always loved the Learn & Groove Musical Table from LeapFrog, and I appreciate that it grows with my kids: infants can play with it on the floor and then you can add the legs for toddlers and preschoolers. Each lever, button, and key creates a different sound and you can select Spanish, English or Music. There are plenty of musical games you can play with your baby at this age.

Now that your baby is sitting pretty, how do you play?