Activities to encourage tummy time are so useful in developing this important skill in your little one. Tummy time is the basis of a number of gross motor skills – including sitting, crawling and walking. Tummy time helps your baby develop head and neck control. And when your baby pushes up on their arms, they are strengthening their shoulders – a foundation for fine motor control.
Tummy time also strengthens trunk (core) muscles for postural control. Pushing up on arms leads to rolling from tummy to back. As your baby learns to reach, they shift their weight, which encourages balance. Tummy time ultimately prepares your baby’s muscles for many advanced motor skills.
Fun activities to encourage tummy time:
- Lean back in a comfortable chair and place baby on your chest. They lay on their tummy, looking at you. Your smiling face and familiar voice will encourage them to lift their head and push up on their arms. As your baby’s neck and shoulders strengthen, lie further back so that they have to work harder against gravity.
- Lie your baby over your lap with a pillow under their chest. This position is very effective for winding your baby and it also encourages them to lift their head. Watching a brother or sister is a great way of encouraging your baby to stay in this position for a while longer.
- Lie baby on the floor with a rolled-up towel under their chest. This gives them some support and decreases frustration in this position. A textured activity mat, favourite toy or mirror can be used to encourage your baby to push up onto their forearms or hands, building endurance in this position.
- From 6 months, babies enjoy swiping and reaching for objects. Place your baby on the floor on their tummy and encourage them to reach and swipe at a toy or a play gym.
- If your baby dislikes being on their tummy, don’t be discouraged and avoid this position. Practice for shorter periods of time, more often throughout the day. When changing their nappy, roll them onto their tummy and make some funny faces to distract them.
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