Rolling over is one of the most anticipated and exciting milestones for babies, indicating that their development is good. Most babies fully lift their heads off the floor during tummy time by the time they reach 2 months, but you can also help your child roll over to their tummy and roll back from their tummy to their back if they need a little extra push.
4 tips to help your child roll from tummy to back
Once your baby gets the hang of rolling over to their tummy, they will start to learn and try to lift their heads and use their neck and arms. Then, they will try to roll back to a lying position.
Most babies find it challenging because they will need a bit more force and control to do this swiftly and smoothly. Here is where you can help them.
1. Move their weight
You can start doing this as soon as they are born. While on their backs, move their weight from side to side as if swinging them gently.
This will allow your child to be familiar with this motion and know that it is a movement their body can do.
For some babies, this will be so relaxing that it will give them a calm feeling and even sleep.
Remember that the goal is for your baby to know and be familiar with the motion and not to roll their body just yet. You can do this after a diaper change, when putting them to sleep, while playing, or anytime they are on their backs.
The earlier you do it, the better because they get more practice before they finally start to try and roll their own weight.
2. Minimize time on baby equipment
We want our babies to practice their motor skills as much as they can, but for them to do that, we need to consciously let them, especially with all the available baby equipment these days, like baby swings, bouncer chairs, play jumpers, and even car seats.
We get it. It makes parents’ life a lot easier but always remember to spare your child a time in a day that is entirely for them.
Focusing on their development, needs, and wants with undivided attention.
3. Make it fun
Tummy time doesn’t need to be so dull. You can turn it into a game for your baby by placing toys in front of them, making sure that these are colorful toys to get their attention.
This way, your baby’s visual is also being exercised as well as their curiosity. They will naturally try to reach for the toy and try to grab it, so in a way, they are also practicing their grasping skills.
4. Practice makes perfect
Let your baby have as much tummy time as they want to. At around 2-4 months, they should be able to lift their head, push their chest off the floor, and use their hands while on their tummy between 4-6 months.
It’s essential for your child to be comfortable on their tummy and learn the weight of their body and how to use it in shifting their movements.
Once they are used to their tummy position, they will naturally swing from side to side and try to roll, but if you see your baby struggle or they look stuck, you can help them by gently shifting their body from one side to the other until they roll on their back.
This could take a couple of tries for them to do on their own, but with frequent practice and your guidance, they should be fine.
Benefits of tummy time
- Neck and shoulder muscles – These muscles are used during tummy time, so it gets a lot of exercise, especially the first few times they try to roll over. They use their neck muscle to try and lift their head up while they use their shoulder muscles to lift their chest up. Just mastering these two skills could lead to so many other milestones eventually.
- Gross motor skills – This is a skill required for babies to control their muscles and do relevant movements like crawling, walking, jumping, running, and more. They also include higher-level skills such as climbing, skipping, and throwing and catching a ball. Just like most things that start in small doses, tummy time is considered the first small step towards bigger movements.
- Prevent Flat Head Syndrome – This usually happens when your baby sleeps with their head turned to the same side during the first few months of their life. This causes a flat spot, either on one side or the back of the head which is called flat head syndrome or positional plagiocephaly. If you allow your baby to go on tummy time as often as they want, it prevents or lowers the possibility for them to have a Flat Head Syndrome because their head is not staying in the same position for an extended amount of time.