I’ve already addressed rolling in a previous post, as well as if you should be concerned if your child isn’t rolling yet, but I wanted to provide a video for some visuals on ways to encourage rolling in your child. This video addresses helping your child to roll from their back onto their stomach. Its important that your child learn to activate their flexor muscles (abs) to assist with rolling as opposed to throwing their head back to use extension to initiate rolling. Using a toy or object that your child is interested and engaged in will encourage them to track it visually which they will follow with their eyes, head and then body as you move it to just over their head. They will also try to reach for it which will further bring their abs into it as well continue the motion in the direction of the roll. They also need to bring their leg and hip over which can complete the motion onto their belly. In the beginning they usually need some extra help at the hip to guide them towards their belly, as well as to prevent them from falling right back onto their backs. Don’t help too much at the hip because they need to start figuring out how much muscle activity they need as well as how far to continue the action (so they don’t fall back) and how to stabilize. All of the trial and error is great opportunities for them to develop motor planning and work on movement exploration. Once they are on their belly often their arm can get stuck under their body. If you tickle at their pecs (front of the shoulder) sometimes you can encourage them to pull their arm out. Often they will figure out ways to maneuver their body until they can get the arm out from underneath them.
One final thing, make sure you help them practice rolling to both the left and the right so that they can maximize their mobility as well as develop their strength equally on both sides.