Rolling is one of your baby’s first milestones they hit in motor skill development. Say hello to mobility!
Rolling is the first step in developing your postural control (which comes in handy for later development, such as handwriting), and is also important because it engages a part of the brain responsible for making the left and right sides of the body “talk” to and coordinate with each other (important for reading, writing, and developing higher motor skills).
Here are 3 tips for helping babies learn how to roll:
1. Set down and pick up baby while moving their weight side to side in a rolling motion. You can start this one as soon as baby is born and, since it’s really easy to incorporate into your daily life. You can do this during diaper changes, sleeping sessions, when waking your baby up, etc. This means your baby will get plenty of practice! Sit your baby down on their bottom and as you lower them, roll them onto their side . They will automatically try to keep their head from falling out of line with their body (a reflex with which babies are born), strengthening the muscles on the sides of their neck. They can also practice pushing down on the floor with their arms. Simply reverse this motion when it’s time to pick baby up. Make sure your baby gets plenty of time to roll on both sides. We don’t want a baby who only moves to one side!
2. Minimize time spent in baby equipment. This includes baby swings, bouncer chairs, play saucers/jumpers and, yes, even car seats. The only way babies develop new motor skills is through experience, practice, and trial & error, so for every minute they are in baby equipment, that’s a minute of lost experience.
3. Allow baby plenty of tummy time during the day. All babies begin to develop their fine motor skills during tummy time. It’s really important to give your baby time to lay on their tummy and practice moving around. Time spent on the tummy helps babies strengthen their neck and back muscles necessary for arching against gravity and, eventually, rolling. In general, babies fully lift their head off the floor during tummy time by 2 months, hold their chest off the floor during tummy time between 2-4 months, and bear weight on their hands while on their tummy between 4-6 months.
Once your baby is comfortable on their tummy and can push their chest off the floor, you may notice that he will start to rock his body side to side. That’s great! That means soon they will be rolling! It may be hours or weeks until they topple over for the first time, but the fact that they are practicing shifting their weight side to side is great! For some babies who have trouble learning how to roll, practice in shifting weight is key.
It may seem like your baby is stuck in their pushed up position and are confused how to, or uncomfortable with, moving side to side. You can help them out by guiding them gently, start with some very slow, gentle side-to-side motions while they’re propped up. Try singing to them while you rock them to get them into the rhythm. Help them shift their weight to the side just enough that they can finish the roll themselves at the end of the song or verse.
Make photo of your baby trying to turn from tummy to back and upload to the App. Write briefly how your little one learned to roll.
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