Many new parents aren’t aware of how vital tummy time is to a baby’s growth and development. Essentially classified as your baby’s first workout, tummy time can sometimes be met with tears and resistance until they get used to it. Luckily there are many itummy time activities for infants available to make this an enjoyable time for both parents and baby.
Why Is Tummy Time So Important?
Tummy time is essentially the building block for infant sensory, motor, and visual milestone development. It also discourages Twisted Neck and Flat Head Syndromes that occur when infants spend too much time on their backs.
Tummy time develops the following senses:
- Tactile/touch sense is developed by the various textures that the infant feels on arms, hands, and cheeks while on the tummy.
- The constant shifting of body weight encourages infant body awareness.
- The different positions during tummy time promote a sense of movement and balance.
- Infants are also learning to listen to and identify different sounds. This is either the parent’s or caregiver’s voice, or rattles and toys used during this time.
Tummy time develops core strength in the neck, back, and shoulders, which is vital for rolling, sitting, and crawling later on.
Infants learn to focus and reach for objects and toys of various shapes and colors.
Tummy Time Tips And Tricks
Tummy time, although essential for infant development, is hard work for your baby. They may not enjoy it at all at first. Here are some tips to make it a little easier and enjoyable for you both:
- Try and do tummy time when the baby is happy, not tired or hungry. Straight after a diaper change is often a good time.
- Place a pillow or rolled-up towel under your baby’s arms as a prop when your baby is very small. That will elevate your baby’s torso slightly, and encourage them to try and lift their head.
- Tummy time can be used to give your baby a soothing back massage, especially if they are fussing.
- Switch locations often; it will keep the baby interested and less likely to fuss.
Fun Tummy Time Activities For Infants
There are many fun activities you can do with an infant during tummy time. Most activities are age-dependent, but as long as you are bonding with your child, don’t overthink anything; just get creative.
Newborn To Six Weeks
This time is usually spent just singing, talking, and soothing the infant. Most parents prefer to have the baby on their chest as opposed to the floor, but lying the infant on the tummy on a yoga ball or over your lap is also effective.
Six Weeks To 12 Weeks
Your baby will start responding a little more, and you can start getting creative:
- Put wrist rattles on their wrists. They will be fascinated by the noise as they move their hands.
- Gently rub fabrics of different textures across the face. This is a very good sensory distraction if they start fussing.
- They will track, start to focus, and try to reach for any toy you shake in front of their face.
Three to Four Months
This is the age where you can introduce toys that they can play with. Some toy ideas are:
- Water mats filled with little toys.
- Make a book wall with colorful pictures. Studies have shown that bold black and white pictures are very visually stimulating.
- Babies love looking at faces: this is a very good age to introduce a baby-proof mirror.
Four Months And Older
From four months old, babies start lifting their heads and keeping them centered. They now actively start reaching for and grabbing toys, and enjoy playing games like peek-a-boo. Here are some other ideas to keep them entertained on their tummies:
- Place a sensory tray in front of them. The tray can contain any safe household item like a sponge, wooden spoon, or even shower poufs. Babies love to touch and feel the different textures.
- A shallow splash tray with floating toys provides lots of entertainment, especially on a lovely warm day.
- Some other tummy time activities include giant play mats with lots of different textures, a crinkle activity book, and baby mirrors are always a wonderful source of fascination.
The Infant Care Facility Of Choice In Parkland
At Parkland Children’s Academy, we prioritize learning, safety, health, and development in a fun, family orientated environment. For more information or to arrange a tour of our facilities, contact us Monday to Friday between 7am and 6pm at 954-688-5877.