Spending time on the floor for your baby is an important part of their development. There have been many articles written about this very topic, and there are many different thoughts about what position is right. Many experts are saying that tummy time is very important, and yet there are those who believe that it is not the right way to go. It comes down to what are the benefits of tummy time and are there other ways to accomplish the same end result?
- During the first months of life it will help them develop their neck muscles
- This will allow them to hold their head up
- That will then allow them to build the muscles in their backs. This will help them with rolling and sitting
- Once they start pushing themselves up off the floor they will be developing their shoulders, arms and hand muscles.
Because your baby will be moving at their own pace, they will be learning how to control their muscles and develop their balance as well.
This is like a full upper body workout for your baby.
This then leads us to the next question, are there other ways to accomplish the same end result? For some babies they are not happy with spending time on their tummies and who can blame them? It is a lot of work to keep your face up off the floor without the muscles to support you. One way to help your child accomplish the goals we talked about earlier is to lie on your back or sit in a recliner and place your baby on their tummy against you.
- Once your baby develops more control of their head and neck they may feel more comfortable on their tummies on the floor
You might actually want to encourage your baby to enjoy their tummy time even though they don’t seem to like it. Here are a few things to try.
- Join your baby on the floor
Get down on your tummy and try to get your baby to look at you, play peek-a-boo, shake a rattle, make faces
- Prop them up on a pillow or a rolled towel under them till they gain more muscles
- Prop a visually stimulating book up in their view
- Put a mirror up for them to look at themselves
- Use your exercise ball to help them get used to their tummy
- Hold them on the ball tummy down and gently rock them back and forth on the ball.
If your baby gets very agitated with tummy time, make sure to take it slowly. Try one of these tips, then if your baby gets upset, take a break and do something else that they enjoy. This should be fun for both of you.
- Shake rattles and visually stimulating toys and have them follow the toy with their heads
- Hold toys of interest above them and let them grab onto them, then let them track the toy to a place on the floor just out of reach
- This will allow them to attempt to reach the toy that has engaged them.
- Babies are very persistent when they are trying to get something they want.
- They will try to reach it, and when they realize it is out of reach they will start moving their bodies to find a way to get to it.
- This may result in shifting their whole body to get closer or they may even attempt to roll to get it.
This will also help them to build strong muscles that will allow them to roll over, crawl and sit up.
Regardless of your beliefs about “tummy time” everyone believes that babies need to have time on the floor free to explore their bodies and develop their abilities.
What are some of your favourite games that you play with your baby while they are on the floor? Please leave your comments below.