Tummy time is so important for your baby as it not only develops head and neck control, when baby pushes up on her arms, she strengthens her shoulders, a foundation for fine motor control. Tummy time also strengthens trunk muscles for postural control. Pushing up on arms leads to rolling from tummy to back. As baby learns to reach, she shifts weight, which encourages balance. Tummy time ultimately prepares baby’s muscles for crawling, and many other advanced motor skills.
Here are a few fun activities to encourage tummy time with your baby:
- Lean back in a comfortable chair and place baby on your chest. She lies on her tummy, looking at you. Your smiling face and familiar voice will encourage her to lift her head and push up on her arms. As baby’s neck and shoulders strengthen, lie further back so that she has to work harder against gravity.
- Lie baby over your lap with a pillow under her chest. This position is very effective for winding baby and it also encourages her to lift her head. Watching a brother or sister is a great way of encouraging her to stay in this position for a while longer.
- Lie baby on the floor with a rolled-up towel under her chest. This gives her some support and decreases frustration in this position. A textured activity mat, favourite toy or mirror can be used to encourage baby to push up onto his forearms or hands, building endurance in this position.
- From 6 months, babies enjoy swiping and reaching for objects. Place baby on the floor on her tummy and encourage her to reach and swipe at a toy or a play gym.
- If your baby dislikes being on her tummy, don’t be discouraged and avoid this position. Practice for shorter periods of time, more often throughout the day. When changing her nappy, roll her onto her tummy and make some funny faces to distract her.