At GymbaROO, BabyROO and KindyROO we can’t emphasise enough just how important tummy time is for your baby’s healthy development. Watch our free online video on tummy time here.
Stimulates development of vision – especially when babies ‘find’ their hands and follow them with their eyes.Watch our free video how and why to help baby’s visual development here.
Stimulates hand and finger development. As babies open and close their hands, rub them on the floor and grab items they are stimulating the touch senses and developing important nerve pathways to and from the brain.Watch our free video on how and why to help baby’s hand development here.
Strengthens neck, shoulder and arm muscles important for transferring weight from one arm to the other when reaching out, for moving forward on tummies and later for creeping on hands and knees.
Avoids misshapen head development that occurs when babies lie for long periods on their back (commonly referred to as a ‘flat head’ or professionally as plagiocephaly).
Helps form the arch in the foot when the infants push their toes onto the blanket or floor. The plantar reflex that is present in the feet from birth to about 5-6 months of age helps babies to push forward along the floor on their tummies.Watch our free video on how and why to help baby’s foot development here.
Why commando crawling is important for development
While ‘commando’ or tummy crawling, infants learn to coordinate their bodies and limbs in preparation for creeping on hands and knees.
The arms, hands, feet and legs are strengthened as they learn to pull and push themselves along.
As babies crawl along the floor, hundreds of touch and motion messages flow to the brain telling them about their bodies and where they are in space.
Commando crawling stimulates babies visual abilities as they change position relative to their world. They are leaning about space and time – how far is that toy and how long will it take me to get there?
How to encourage tummy time
As early as possible, lie your baby on his tummy for short periods of time while awake, to familiarise him with the position.
Lie her on your chest so that she will be encouraged to lift up her head and look at your face.
Lie your baby across your legs and stroke down his back.
Get down on the floor with your little one. Sing songs, talk to her and encourage her to lift her head to look at you.
Have a toy or mirror in front of your baby so that he is encouraged to look up.
Place a small rolled up towel under your baby’s chest and arms. This gives her more support and encouragement to lift her head and push up on her arms.
Several short periods each day will quickly build the strength in your baby’s head, neck, shoulders and arms. As your baby gets stronger, she will be able to lie happily on her tummy for longer periods.
Infants who are given lots of tummy time during the early months of development finds out about themselves and their world much more quickly than those who do not. It is on their tummies that babies will develop neck, back, arm, leg and eye muscles that will enable them to gain control over their body movements and get themselves moving forward along the developmental trajectory of life. Click here to watch our full free BabyROO video with loads of loving tummy time activities.
Preview of GymbaROO’s tummy time video
I’ve been following “Let’s do BabyROO” on the videos doing one every few days. I’ve just noticed a huge difference in bub’s abilities. Especially tummy time! They are such a great reference tool because not only do you get the activity but the ‘why’ which is so important! It’s not only teaching bub but teaching me to! I feel more confident as a new mum. Thank you for this great resource.
Dr Jane Williams (PhD, BMgt, RN(Paeds)) is the Research and Education General Manager for GymbaROO and KindyROO. She is one of Australia’s leading experts on baby and child development. More on Dr Williams here.
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