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Tummy time is an activity pediatricians encourage parents to do with their newborns and infants. Over the years, I’ve found that parents don’t always understand why the activity is so important.

This combined with the fact that babies initially resist being laid on their stomachs often results in parents spending little time encouraging the position or foregoing it altogether.

Working through the initial difficulties is important to help babies:

1. Develop head and trunk control

2. Strengthen arms and shoulders

3. Develop weight shifting and reaching skills

4. Develop ocular motor and visual perceptual skills

5.Promote bilateral coordination skills

All of these developemental skills are prerequisites for larger gross motor skills, such as rolling, sitting, and crawling, and for fine motor skills such as hand strength, upper extremity control, and to develop object manipulation skills.

Because tummy time can be a challenge for babies, it is important to make it fun and engaging.

Try these tips to make tummy time less difficult:

1.  Engage your child in tummy time by lying them on your chest while you lean back or lie down. This puts him in a perfect position to engage with you while you try to distract him.

2.  Place a rolled towel or a small pillow under your child’s chest to help raise her and keep her face off of the floor.

3.  Place your child on his tummy across your lap. Use one hand to help support him and your other hand to hold a rattle for entertainment.

4.  Carry your child in a face down position using both hands, which encourages them to activate their extensor muscles and build their neck and core strength.

5.  Place your child on her stomach on a large exercise ball. This will allow you to rock and sway her to help keep her happy. This position also gives her a different visual perspective, which may help to keep her happy!

Do you have any tummy time secrets of your own?