Over the last few years many of my friends and relatives have had kids of their own. As a result I often get questions from them regarding what their baby or child should be doing. I understand that advice and opinions can be taken with a grain of salt and everybody does things differently but I thought I’d share with you, over several posts, the top pieces of advice I’ve given as a result of all the questions.
- Tummy Time, Tummy Time and More Tummy Time: This is my number one piece of advice to all new parents. I’ve been to a lot of baby showers and some of them have you offer an anonymous piece of advice to the new mom, well mine’s never anonymous because it usually always reads ‘Lots of Tummy Time!’. I just think (and research has shown) that this position is the building block of movement. It helps the baby to begin to develop their head control, strengthen their arms and shoulder girdles, begin activating their gluts which will help to facilitate their hip and femur bony development, and stretch out the front of their body which has been squished into flexion for the last 9 months to name a few. It also gives them some control of their environment. If they are lying on their backs they are waiting for toys to be brought to them, on their tummy they can begin to figure out how to move or pivot to get to what they want. Also, it helps to facilitate them getting into a sidelying position which is really important for trunk development. With the implementation of the Back to Sleep program and the busier lifestyles of families and the conveniences that have been developed (bouncy chairs, exersaucers, click and go car seats) parents have to make a point of allowing their child to spend time on their belly. (see also ‘Strategies For Tummy Time‘)
- Give them motivation and a challenge: This is in response to how to get their kids to move. Now some kids may have other challenges going on but the same ideas still apply. If you want your child to move don’t put everything right in their reach. I remember going to a family’s house and they were concerned because all their daughter did was sit in one spot and didn’t attempt to move. When I looked to where she was sitting, she was on her blanket with every toy she could possibly want right in front of her. She has no reason to move! Find out what is motivating for your child, let them engage with it and then move it just a little bit out of their reach. Let them try to struggle and figure out what they need to do to get to it. The struggle is part of the learning process. Its when they get to figure out what their body can and can’t do and how to react to any changes. This is where motor planning is developed. Now, I don’t torture the kids, I will usually let them try to figure it out and then assist them into having some success so they can play with whatever motivates them and then move it out of reach again and start all over. Over Christmas my cousin’s little girl really wanted to move but couldn’t figure out what she needed to do. We put the little baby doll that she wanted a little bit in front of her and then I gave her some assistance at the legs so she could push herself along the floor. After a few tries she started to grasp that by moving her body she was able to get to her toy. That awareness helped her to pick up the skill even faster. (see also ‘Frustration + Problem Solving = Motor Planning and Movement‘)
To be continued…Tune back in for more of my amazing tips!