While tummy time should not be overlooked, many infants can benefit from strengthening other core muscle groups. Here are five baby development activities to try with your little one.
Place your baby on their side. Your little one may tend to roll on their back, so support them with your leg. Give them the freedom to look around, grasp objects, and rock forward and backward. This activity can help prepare your child’s muscles for rolling over. Similar to tummy time, infants need to be closely supervised in this position.
This exercise is a great addition to tummy, back, or side play. Move your babies arms and legs in swimming motions. Think crawl, butterfly, and breast strokes. Swimming may increase their range of motion and is a fun way for them to interact with you.
Sit and sway
Sitting up gives babies a new perspective and is a great way for you to comfortably play with them. Sit on the floor facing your baby, with your legs straddled in a V shape. Hold your baby’s hands to help support them, and gently rock forward, backward, and to each side. This exercise facilitates core muscle development and balance.
Note: I like to sing while doing this one, so we can move to the beat. Try Row, Row, Row Your Boat or Itsy Bitsy Spider.
Help your little one stand on your lap and bounce. Not only will your baby feel more like a “big kid,” but this exercise can strengthen their legs. Your baby may not be ready to pull him/herself up for a few more months, but strong legs help little ones roll over and crawl.
After a big day of playing, adding a baby massage to your sleep routine is a great way to soothe their muscles, encourage body awareness, and get them in a relaxed state-of-mind. For massage pointers, check out this detailed video from Tiddley Pom Baby Spa: How to give a baby massage.
Although these development activities do not replace tummy time, they could be a great addition to your baby’s day. You can even spice things up by adding a child-proof mirror, toys, music, or simply goofy faces.