It’s widely accepted now that ‘tummy-time’ is important for any baby’s development.
That goes for kids with disabilities as much as for those without.
Research shows that infants who don’t get tummy-time usually develop slower than those pint-sized peers who spend some time belly down.
It prevents delays in reaching developmental milestones by increasing their core strength, head control, hand-eye coordination and social development.
And while typically-developing kids will probably catch up to their tummy-timed pals eventually, kids with developmental delays may need to work a lot longer and a lot harder.
And one of the biggest challenges kids often face is simply hating tummy-time. Some children just do not like it one bit. It’s awkward, uncomfortable and can leave them very frustrated and upset.
So, what can we do to make tummy-time more fun for our Firefly friends?
Family participation is our favourite thing, and that goes for tummy-time too. Get everyone down onto the floor – dads, brothers, sisters, grandmas, dogs, everyone – and onto their bellies.
By playing with junior down there it normalises the activity and stop them feeling isolated and abandoned like tummy-time can if there’s nobody close by.
Tummy time doesn’t need to happen on the floor all the time. In fact, in the early stages when you’re just getting your child ready for independent tummy-time, it often helps to incorporate tummy-time into other activities.
Try laying them across your lap while you’re sitting on the couch relaxing, or lean them onto their front at an angle using a large pillow or beanbag. Just don’t do tummy-time at sleep times. Or in the bath, obviously.
There are lots of toys and activity mats designed for kids lying in a prone position. Even run-of-the mill toys can provide plenty of entertainment and distraction.
And more importantly, reaching for and lifting colourful or noisy toys provides a workout for the senses as well as the muscles.
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