Most parents are aware that tummy time is important for their baby, but may not know exactly why.
Tummy time helps to strengthen the muscles in your baby’s neck, back, and trunk, which is important for them to be able to sit up, crawl, and walk eventually.
It also gives them a chance to practice using their arms and legs, which can help coordinate their movements better.
So how do you go about incorporating tummy time into your baby’s daily routine?
Read our top 9 tips for tummy time for your baby below!
- Start with tummy time: Put baby on his tummy when he is alert and quiet. Encourage him to lift his head. A strong neck will help baby sit up and then crawl. Around 4 months baby may begin to push himself up on his elbows, and rollover. Get down on the floor with your baby during tummy time.
- Keep baby safe: Once the baby starts moving around, watch her closely. Never leave the baby alone on a changing table. Baby proof your home. She’ll start to get into everything.
- Help baby sit up: Sit baby on your lap or prop him against a cushion. Hold a toy out for him to reach for. When he can hold up his head, lay baby on his back and pull him up to sit.
- Provide plenty of free time out of the stroller or carrier: Play with baby every day. Sit on the floor and play with toys. Play peek-a-boo!
- Sometimes place toys nearby, but out of reach: Encourage baby to reach, crawl or walk along furniture to get toys. Help him if he gets frustrated.
- Give baby a safe place to practice: Block off a room or space. Make sure there are no sharp edges and no furniture that can tip over.
- Help baby learn to move on his own: Baby will grab your leg or the couch and pull herself up. Teach her to bend her knees so she can get back down.
- Give lots of praise: Around 9-10 months baby starts to couch walk. Clap and smile and give him lots of kisses when he learns something new. Say: “You did it, I’m proud of you.” Help him try again.
- Practice, practice, practice: Baby develops by trying again and again. Hold baby’s hands while she tries to walk.
Rolls over 4-6 months
Sits up with help 4-6 months
Sits up alone 6-8 months
Crawls 7-10 months
Pulls himself up to his feet 8-9 months
Walks holding onto furniture 9-12 months
Takes first steps 12 months
Walks alone 12-18 months
Every baby develops at his own pace. These are just guidelines. Walking can start as early as 8 months or as late as 18 months.
Ideas for playing
• Roll a ball to him when he is sitting up.
• When baby starts pulling himself up, put toys on the couch, let baby pull himself up to get the toys.
• Baby can begin to find toys under the couch by age 1.
• Once baby is getting around on his own, put pillows, couch cushions and boxes on the floor. Stay with baby while he crawls over your obstacle course.
Some parents leave their babies in carriers for too many hours a day. Be sure your baby spends most of her time out of the carrier, so she’s building muscles and movement.
Ask your health care provider if you have any concerns about baby’s development.
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