We hear you. As a parent, there is a never-ending list of things to do each day to help your little one succeed in their environment. You’re looking at much time spent for feeding, diaper changes, naps, playing, and the list goes on and on. Sometimes, it may not even seem possible to add one more task into the mix, but we can assure you that tummy time is definitely worth it for you and your baby if you are not already doing so.
Tummy Time 101
The name says it all! Tummy time is, well, time your baby spends on their belly. Even if other tasks during the day take priority, tummy time should be a critical part of that day as well. The importance lies in developmental milestones for movement. With time on the belly, they have the perfect opportunity to build back, neck, and core muscles, which are all necessary for future movements such as rolling and crawling. Motor skills are sure to grow too! Not only are muscles involved, but they can also explore their sense of touch while their hands are facing down.
Making tummy time a part of your baby’s routine is a necessity for your baby’s development. The easy part is that you don’t need to put much thought into how often because the best times to tummy time are right after they wake up or after a diaper change. Sticking to a routine will help them know what to expect and will help you remember. It’s a two-for-two
All Aboard the Fun Express!
The moments that we spend with our babies are, quite simply, the best moments. Tummy time is absolutely an excuse to spend more quality time with your baby, which further builds on their ability to communicate and interact with their social environment. You can turn up the fun level by encouraging their movements in some key ways:
- Place a blanket under them so that they can feel the texture
- Moving toys in front of them will encourage them to use sight to track the object
- Little ones love your face, so look and smile at eye-level
- Sing that song they love, which can especially calm and soothe
If implemented regularly, your little one can have a ball with you by their side. We recommend starting tummy time in short 3 – 5 min increments about 2 – 3 times a day. Eventually, they can work up to increments that total 1 hour a day by 3 months of age; a true crowning achievement for your baby. Fitting this into your schedule is a must because it can help them reach some major motor milestones such as crawling and sitting.
You Can Do It!
Even though life gets hectic, watching and helping your baby grow and learn will always be worth the inevitable scheduling obstacles. Making tummy time fun is totally possible and can continue to build upon the oh-so-important relationship between parent and child. Don’t just take that from us. Go out there, and set your clock for tummy time!
Does your infant dislike tummy time? Our pediatric physical therapy team can help! Learn more about physical therapy’s role in development and contact us to schedule an evaluation for your baby today.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2018 and has been updated to reflect the most up-to-date information for parents and caregivers.