I don't know about you but finding ways to encourage Little Bear to do tummy time can sometimes feel like a real chore. Since his first attempt at tummy time, when he was four weeks old, he just won't tolerate being on his tummy for longer than a few minutes. Now that he is 8 months old he will go on his tummy for longer but mainly when other babies are around – it's like he doesn't want to be shown up in front of his friends. Away from them, at home, it didn't seem to matter what I did or what toys I gave him to play with, little Bear would start crying and getting frustrated after a minute or so.
When he was 5 months old I started to get concerned about this – especially when our Baby Sensory teacher said that crawling was an important developmental stage for babies and in my mind I thought that tummy time would lead to him being able to crawl. All I could think was: little Bear won't spend time on his tummy and prefers standing and jumping, will he miss this stage of crawling because he doesn't like it on his tummy?
So I started to think of ways to encourage and build in more tummy time into our day.
I had noticed that little Bear would often spend longer on his tummy if he was doing tummy time either on our bed or in his cot. This got me think, what if the surface downstairs in the lounge and kitchen (where we spend most of our day) was too hard for him? We had a kidney-shaped cushion with our Bright Starts play gym which he had used but now I wanted to encourage him to try and get on all fours and this cushion wouldn't do that. Following a trip around Mothercare and The Early Learning Centre I found something that would work – a small-medium soft ball: perfect.
We placed this ball under his upper chest and it worked. Suddenly he wasn't protesting quite so much when on his tummy. It was a bit of a balancing act at times but this has also helped him to develop more strength in his arms.
To help encourage him to get into a crawling position I started to place the ball under his stomach. Again it has taken a while for little Bear to gain his balance, but he has started to move him legs from a flat and flailing position to be more upright on his knees. We have now removed the ball to try and continue to help him get into this crawling position and it's had some success but not much.
The other thing we did with the ball was to sit little Bear on it, again to help him develop his balance and he is much stronger now when sitting upright.
The ball hasn't been the only toy that has helped us as little Bear has got older.
More recently we have found that little Bear is moving onto his tummy from a seated position when we put toys just out of his grasp. He's so determined to get to them that he seems to forget (albeit briefly) that he is on his tummy. He is already a book worm and will happily lie on his tummy if there is a book in front of him to.
Any other ideas for tummy time and how to encourage it? Post below – we'd love to try them.
Mama Bear x