Helping Your Little One Sit Up: Tips for Gross Motor Delays

Sitting unsupported is a major milestone for babies, opening up a whole new world of exploration and interaction. But for children with gross motor delays, achieving this skill can take a little longer.

Our Gold Coast and Tweed Coast paediatric physiotherapy team specialises in kids’ physio and NDIS support, offering tailored strategies to nurture sitting skills in children.

By working with a physiotherapist you can help your little one get there, and with regular practice outside of physiotherapy you can help them achieve their full potential. Here are some helpful tips for parents to encourage sitting!

Building the Foundation:

  • Tummy Time is Key: Strengthen those core muscles! Place your baby on their tummy for short periods throughout the day, gradually increasing the duration. This builds the strength needed for pulling themselves up and maintaining an upright position.
  • Playtime with Purpose: Incorporate activities that target neck and back strength. Prop your baby up on pillows during playtime, or lie down and encourage them to reach for a toy placed just out of reach.

Working on Balance:

  • Supported Sitting: Once your child shows some head and neck control, practice supported sitting. Prop them up with pillows or use a Boppy pillow to provide a comfortable and secure sitting position.
  • Reach and Play: Place enticing toys just out of reach while your child is on their back. This motivates them to reach and pull themselves up into a more upright position.

Making it Fun:

  • Sing Songs with Actions: Incorporate songs that involve reaching and bending movements. “If You’re Happy and You Know It” is a great example!
  • Mirror Play: Babies love to mimic. Sit on the floor and face your child, encouraging them to copy your movements as you lean forward and sit back.


  • Every Child Develops at Their Own Pace: Don’t compare your child to others. Celebrate small victories and focus on making progress, not achieving perfection.
  • Talk to Your Pediatrician: If you have concerns about your child’s gross motor development, discuss them with your pediatrician. They can provide guidance and assess if additional support, like physical therapy, is needed.

Bonus Tip: Keep playtime sessions short and engaging. When your child gets frustrated, take a break and come back to it later.

By incorporating these tips alongside the expert and individualised advice from your paediatric physiotherapist, you can help your little one reach their sitting milestone and explore the world in a whole new way!

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