Tummy time activities are a way to help your baby begin the development of his neck strength and control. These activities provide both physical and psychological benefits to your baby by strengthening his muscles, improving his coordination and giving him an initial boost of confidence. The best time to begin these tummy time activities is when your baby reaches three to four months.
Baby on Chest
When first introducing your child to tummy time activities, begin by placing your baby tummy-side onto your chest while you lie down. Your baby will feel the comfort of parental support and contact while learning to support herself on her tummy. Your baby may try and use her neck muscles to see your face; this will begin your baby's core strengthening. Alternate tummy time on your chest with tummy time on the ground. The more your baby gets used to tummy time on the ground, the more activities you can introduce her to.
Face Up Close
Once your baby is comfortably spending tummy time on the floor, you can introduce a new activity to continue strengthening his neck. As your baby lies on the floor, stay close in order to provide emotional comfort. Begin talking and singing to the baby. Not only will this help your baby to begin developing listening and linguistic abilities, but it will also encourage him to lift his head and look around, again developing important muscles and coordination. Your baby will begin to support himself further while simultaneously developing important elements of hearing and independence.
Ball Roll is a tummy time activity that will further challenge your baby to support herself. Using an exercise ball that is about 60 centimeters in diameter, lay your baby gently across the top, with her tummy touching the ball. Using one hand to stabilize your baby and the other hand to hold the ball, slowly move the ball in different directions. Slightly roll the ball front to back, side to side and in circles, rotating both clockwise and counterclockwise. You can also choose to gently push down on the infant's back to introduce an up and down motion. These exercises will teach your baby new forms of movement while continually strengthening her growing body.
Blanket and Toys
For further core and sensory development during tummy time, lay your baby on his tummy onto a colorful blanket designed with various shapes and colors. Also place a number of familiar toys on the blanket near the baby. Lie next to your baby and encourage him to observe and explore the toys and the blanket. His interest in the objects will encourage him to move both his head and neck, and as his strength increases, he will also reach and grab for toys. Aid your child in reaching a toy if necessary, but always encourage his independence and abilities.
- Photo Credit baby tummy-time image by Edyta Anna Grabowska from Fotolia.com
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