Things to do during tummy time

Through some simple activities you can help your baby’s mental development at the same time as their physical development.

NHS speech and language therapist, Francesca Ellis gave us some ideas of things to try during tummy time – as a bonus, they can help keep wriggly babies occupied too.

Newborn

While your baby is lying on your chest, try some soothing, quiet singing.

Even better, make it interactive by using your touch.

Rhymes/songs you could try include:

  • Round and Round the Garden, with your fingers ‘walking’ on the baby’s back
  • Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, touching baby’s body parts in time to the song
  • Incy, Wincy Spider, walking your fingers up and down baby’s spine

First times on floor

When they first spend time down on the floor, your baby might struggle. However, voices and faces are massively motivating for babies, so get down to their level.

Lie in front of them and smile. You’ll often find that they work harder to look at you, helping to strengthen those neck muscles.

If your baby is able to hold up their head in a more controlled way, try playing peek a boo.

Move to different positions, to the front-left, front-right and front-centre of your baby when you hide your face. This way, they’ll follow you with their gaze and work different neck muscles, as well as tuning into your facial expressions and the back and forth of communication.

Try introducing different tones of voice, facial expressions and body language too.

Reaching and crawling

Get baby comfy on the floor and place a few familiar items just out of reach, for example, their teddy, a spoon and a noisy toy.

When baby looks towards each item, pick it up and say its name, e.g. ‘a spoon, it’s your spoon’. Put lots of emphasis on the key word, ‘spoon’. Then give that item to the baby to explore.

Once they have done this, place it back and do the same with the other items. Try mixing it up with different items each tummy time. You could use any toys lying around or even their socks!

As baby starts to reach out and crawl, you can comment on their behaviour, ‘oh you want you teddy? You’ve got teddy! Well done!’.

Remember, these activities should be enjoyable - not a test for you or your baby.

Repetition helps to create new behaviours, so try these activities in short bursts and baby will soon start to enjoy tummy time. And hopefully, you will too!

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