Tummy Time is an essential activity for a baby’s development and is a regularly encouraging exercise for our centres 0-1 children in our Nursery rooms.
What is Tummy Time?
Tummy Time is the activity of placing your baby on their tummy for short periods which over time aids in the physical development of your baby.
This activity is suggested to be done from infancy, starting with very short periods, 1-2 minutes and then slowly increasing that time as your baby starts to feel more comfortable and stronger in the position.
What are the benefits?
● Strengthens upper body and neck muscles.
● Improves head control.
● Decreases the chance of plagiocephaly by spending less time on their skull.
● Helps babies to learn how to roll by moving from their back to their tummy and back again.
● Strengthens hips and legs, as well as lower back muscles.
● Sets up the groundwork for creeping and then crawling.
● Helps babies learn about different variations to their environment.
● Provides different sensory experiences.
● Assists them in the ability to follow a moving object with the eyes (visual tracking).
● Assists them in the ability to judge if objects are nearer or farther away than other objects (depth perception).
● Assists with babies’ cognitive development and environmental awareness.
How do I set up an environment for Tummy Time?
Placing your child on a blanket or mat on the floor is recommended; however, if your baby does not settle in this position, carrying out the same activity chest to chest while you are on your back or in a chair, over your lap in a seated position, propping your baby's chest up with a blanket or rolled towel under baby's chest with arms forward. baby over your arm, or even over an exercise ball can provide the same benefits.
Make sure the area you set this activity up in is clear of any hazards, particularly if your child can already roll or in the early stages of crawling and that you are always present during the activity.
Providing your child with additional stimulation while in this position will further increase the physical and cognitive benefits, this may include:
- Safe objects and toys and books close to your baby - Moving these in front of your baby’s face will encourage them to move their head.
- Interacting with your baby by laying on your tummy in front of your baby to encourage eye contact, talking, singing and physical touch.
- Setting up the activity in different environments such as outdoors on a blanket.
Tummy time should always be closely supervised, so babies are safe and can be supported to return to a comfortable position when they are ready.
Babies should always be put on their back for sleep safety. Never place babies on their tummy or side when putting them to sleep.
How we provide Tummy Time in our Centres
As part of our Healthy Beginnings phase, we have a dedicated Stretch and Grow zone that is all about promoting physical growth and wellbeing opportunities for children. This zone typically incorporates a mirror, comfortable mats and materials that are curious and fascinating to children while they explore how their bodies move. We know how important consistency and continuity is for children and this is why our Healthy Beginnings Curriculum prioritises this learning for children in a familiar location so they can develop trust, confidence and a sense of safety as they know what happens here.
Brooke Latta, Lead Education & Co Education Leader at Papilio Early Learning Sherwood shared, “At Papilio Sherwood, we support tummy time in the nursery room by creating safe and caring environments.”
“We create these environments free of hazards to allow children to explore their physical development in a safe space. This space is on a mat in our stretch and grow zone with a mirror situated for the children's own reference. Having spaces available for the children's development allows them the time to explore in comfort.” Said Brooke.
Tummy Time Guidelines:
- We follow the same guidelines we recommend for our families.
- We prioritise communication with families during orientation and ongoing to understand their child's current development and needs. This includes if they have started to roll independently or not. Where children are not independently rolling, we ensure we are present and available during tummy time to respond sensitively should they display frustration or a need to roll back.
- ensuring there is a safe space clear of obstructions (our zone is set up for promoting this learning all day, every day).