We have all said it and written it a million times: Your baby needs Tummy Time every day! But do we ever take the time to explain what that means or why it’s important? Maybe if we took the time to explain to caregivers the benefits of Tummy Time, they would understand the need to create opportunities to promote Tummy Time.
What are the benefits of Tummy Time and what are the essential suggestions we should be giving caregivers to promote the use of Tummy Time, throughout the day?
Tummy Time can be more than just a position, it can be an activity to engage with a child and develop necessary strength and developmental skills. When Tummy Time incorporates active play it gives parents the opportunity to work on head control, eye contact, shoulder girdle strength, vocalizations, engagement, and social interaction. Playing while on the tummy develops initial upper extremity weight shifting skills, strength of the upper back and trunk muscles, postural control, and proprioception. It also helps the baby to dissociate his head from his trunk and use the muscles around his eyes. Although initially Tummy Time is a passive position, we must encourage caregivers to actively engage with the infant. Suggest to the caregiver to sing songs while the child is laying on their chest in the morning in bed or play peek-a-boo with a blanket on the floor or knock over cups or any other fun age-appropriate activity that engages the child while on their tummy.
Check out these sites for more ideas about Tummy Time. Remember to personalize these guidelines to include active play games for the caregiver and the child.
- Children’s Hospital of Atlanta: Tummy Time Tools (in 7 languages) http://www.choa.org/childrens-hospital-services/orthopaedics/programs-services/orthotics-and-prosthetics/Tummy-Time-tools
- Pathways.org: 5 Essential Tummy Time Moves (in Spanish and English) http://pathways.org/awareness/healthcare-professionals/talking-about-Tummy-Time#.Uf52HpLOuuk
- Check out the video for more ideas of Tummy Time Moves: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3rCtW9DMD4
Erin Wentzell PT, DPT, PCS