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Tummy time tips for parents

By Corrine Robertson

Your baby will begin developing their milestones from birth due to a range of factors including genetics, environment and external stimuli. This is why it is important to expose your child to various environments and contexts of the world, via different positioning as soon as possible.

I’m sure we are all familiar with the obvious benefits of tummy time, such as strengthening your child’s neck and preventing flat spots on their skull. But there are several other benefits relating to general motor skills, cognitive skills and social skills as well. It is often the first step to your child starting to move and really exploring their environment, whether that’s via a commando crawl or several rolls from front to back and back to front.   

Often times barriers relating to parents’ ability to engage their child in tummy time include, their child not tolerating it, remembering to implement it, finding the time to complete the activities and their confidence and knowledge in how to complete tummy time. It doesn’t have to be a complicated task, and there are many ways to simplify tummy time and work to incorporate it into your day!

The important thing to remember is to start small and gradually build from there. No time is too short to complete tummy time in your day. It can even be carrying your child from one room to the next on their tummy. By 6 months of age, you are aiming to complete 60 minutes in total of tummy time throughout the day. This could be six 10-minute sessions or for those pro tummy timers even 2 lots of 30 minutes. 

Top tips to improve tolerance of tummy time:

  1. Lay on your tummy in front of your child and have a chat, they will feel comforted and this will build on their social skills and engagement
  2. Add in some movement. A great way to do this is by placing them on a fit-ball with you supporting them from behind. Sing some songs, have someone else in front or use a mirror to keep things interesting
  3. Use some supports like a towel or a pillow to increase comfort and make the task a little easier for them to increase success
  4. Split it up into several sessions throughout the day, and make sure each time is a different position, support or activity
  5. Wait at least 30 minutes after eating, in case your child has any issues with reflux
  6. Always supervise your child when they are on their tummy to ensure they are awake, safe and comfortable

If you need some ideas or support or are concerned about your child’s tummy time, ask your friendly paediatric physiotherapist.

About the author

Meet Corinne, a Paediatric Physiotherapist at KEO Care. With a wealth of knowledge from working in the disability and hospital sectors, she is passionate about ensuring that all children and families can reach their full potential.