I’ll be honest. For us, it’s been incredibly easy getting Isabelle to engage in as much tummy time as possible. Truth be told, she really isn’t fussed on being on her back. She’ll lie there, but unless you’re changing her, playing with her legs or doing something stupid to amuse her, she doesn’t like it. Instead, what she does want, is to be on her front.
We’ve also been incredibly lucky that Isabelle has had really good neck strength from a very early age. Here she is a little under 4 weeks old, sat happily in her bouncer without the need to get held up:
Before I go on, I will say that it really doesn’t bother me when Isabelle does any of the milestone things. Sitting up, walking, talking etc, I really don’t mind when it happens. All babies do it eventually, so when they do, it can often be down to chance. There are some things, however, that you can do to help them along. What I have here are a few things that I love to do to help Isabelle with her movement. These things are more to keep her entertained than they are to get her to hurry up and crawl. I learned a long time ago (about three months ago actually) that I should just embrace her today and not think about her future self. Anyway, shall I shut up and get on with the list? Would that be preferable? Fine, let’s begin:
It’s All About Props
Rollers, nursing pillows, towels, you can use quite a lot for this one. But it’s all about giving them something to lift their head up and prevent them from smacking it into the ground. For me, I would take Isabelle in her room every morning and prop her up on her roller. At the time, I wasn’t really thinking much about getting her moving, it was more a desperate attempt to bond with my daughter, such the bitch postnatal depression is. Anyway, here she is, back when she actually had more hair! I have no idea where it’s all gone:
Don’t have any of these things? Simply use your legs. Often I would place Isabelle on my one shin, and let her try to lift herself up where I would then wiggle her on to my next one and then over the top. But I’m pretty sure you own at least a towel.
The Clock Game
This is a new one, but it’s one I really like. I’m going to say I invented it. But I dare say I’m not the first one to encircle my child with an array of toys. Here’s how it looks:
It’s pretty simple really. All you have to do is have a bunch of toys, somewhere around eight, laid out in a nice little clock. Plonk your baby down in the middle with everything just about out of reach, and let them crack on. I’ll admit, this is probably for babies who are able to shift themselves about a little more, and you’ll be surprised just how much they manage to move during this. We can easily turn around for a minute and find Isabelle the other side of the clock with one of Hank’s tentacles placed firmly in her mouth.
Using a Towel to Crawl
This is one for when they’re really trying to crawl, but can’t quite get there yet. That’s about where Isabelle is now. She’s doing a solid plank, occasionally moving her leg up and then either accidentally rolling, or flattening back out. Once in a while she’s actually made a clear move forward, but it doesn’t happen much.
With this, you simply put a towel under their stomach and stand over them helping to take their weight. That way they’ll have better balance and more ability to actually shift forward. I’ll admit that I don’t really do this one that much with Isabelle, but that’s mainly because she takes her weight quite well these days, and her balance is much better.
Keeping Things Out of Reach
A nice simple one, but it’s pretty effective. Want your baby to move forward? Simply give them a reason to do it. Putting something just out of reach is a great way to give them a purpose to actually move forward. This is a little bit like the clock game, but with just the one toy instead of loads.
Also, if you’re a little bit sadistic, you can keep moving it ever so slightly every time they think they’re about to grab it. You can wind your baby up fairly quickly if you play the game like this.
Helping them Along Yourself
Finally, when in doubt, just show them how it’s done. I like to just lift Isabelle up onto her knees so she’s on all fours, and then let her take it from there. It’s a little bit like the towel crawl, just minus the towel.
Occasionally I will take over further and move her along to show her how she can do it. Eventually she’ll see how it’s done and merely do it for herself. Well, at least that’s the plan. She does eventually start to get frustrated at the fact she isn’t rushing across the room, but hopefully she can turn that frustration into a little bit of determination and get herself going.
Also, you can always get on the floor and crawl around yourself. I still do this with Isabelle; we’ve pretty much turned it into a little game of chase. What this will do is show them someone else doing it, this will then fire the mirror neurons that we have, and these will link up with other neurons when your baby attempts these skills herself. It’s how we learn.
The whole point of this one is to simply show them that it can be done, and how to do it.
Well, there we have it. Here are five ways that you can help your baby get up and going with their movement abilities during tummy time. I’m sure there are many more things you can do, and if I feel like I have more to add, then you’ll get another post (or I’ll edit this one). I really hope you find something here that works for you, if you do, feel free to give me a shout on the Facebook page.
The main thing with tummy time is to just keep at it. Little and often is usually the best thing to do, like I said, we were lucky and Isabelle really just loved being on her front, for others you just have to work at it. I dare say it isn’t that much fun at first being stuck on your front with your face in the floor. But eventually babies start to love it, especially when they realise they can actually move. Just remember, like with most things, go at your babies pace and don’t force it.
If you’ve gone past tummy time and want ways to encourage standing, then I have a blog post about that one too!