Tummy time is very important for infants and children who haven’t yet learned to crawl. Laying on their tummy encourages the baby to hold their head up to look around. Tummy time not only strengthens neck muscles, but also creates the curve in the cervical spine. Without strength in their neck, babies have a hard time controlling their head when trying to crawl. Tummy time also strengthens the baby’s abdominal muscles to help them sit up on their own! It helps to prevent flat spots on the back of their head as well. Without tummy time, children often have trouble sitting up, rolling over and crawling. It is important for the muscles used during tummy time to develop so other milestones can be met.
Tummy Time Tips
- Use a soft blanket to lie under your baby; they will prefer that over being directly on the floor. It is also important to place your baby on the carpet, or another padded but firm surface. They’re just learning to hold up their head and chest so they may fall a few times.
- Use toys to encourage them to hold their heads up! Just like adults, they will look at something that seems interesting to them.
- Start out doing tummy time for 3-4 times a day for only a few minutes. For new babies this can be a tiring experience! As they get older and have more practice, you can increase the time spent on their bellies.
- Play with them! Just because they are lying on their tummy doesn’t mean you can’t interact with them. Interacting and playing with your baby will encourage them to explore their surroundings.
- Tummy time is important for infants to strengthen the muscles needed to crawl and sit up, so make time for tummy time every day!
For more information you can visit: http://www.aota.org/about-occupational-therapy/patients-clients/childrenandyouth/tummy-time.aspx