Tummy time tummy time tummy time…
It is what all of the physiotherapists and healthcare professionals tell you about! But have you ever understood why tummy time is very important for a young child?
Tummy time is when a baby or a young child is placed on their stomach whilst they are awake and supervised by a responsible adult. The activity will help a baby to develop a strong neck, shoulder muscles and also encourages motor skills. Once a child has developed their muscle strength in these areas, they will be closer to the milestones of sitting up, crawling and walking.
Research has previously shown that babies who are around four months old and who regularly spend more time playing on their tummies, are able to successfully reach motor milestones and sitting positions, compared to babies who do not spend much time on their tummy.
When a child does not have enough time on their tummy, they may develop tight neck muscles or muscle imbalance.
Professionals recommend that you start practising tummy time 2 to 3 times a day for about 3 to 5 minutes each time. This can gradually increase as your baby gets stronger and more used to the activity.
For children who have additional needs or developmental delay, it is even more essential for them to practice tummy time as it is harder for them to reach the key developmental milestones. Many children with additional needs must practice regular physiotherapy such as flexion and extension, balance and core strengthening.
There are numerous other benefits to practicing tummy time with young children.
Strength: Developing strength in the hands, arms, shoulders, neck and back. Also helps to teach a child how to control their posture.
Increasing range of movement: Encourages a child to stretch hip flexors and abdominals which are often tight muscles.
Sensory processing: Deep pressures can be relaxing for children and encourage stability. Other sensory activities can be built into the exercise. I can also encourage the understanding of head orientation and gravity as well as body awareness.
Protects head shape: If children spend too much time on their back they can have a slightly flat patch on the back of the head.
Neuromuscular control: Encourages cognitive development and increases neuromuscular control. The child is able to understand how to control their head. As they practise the exercise they may develop to pushing themselves up on their elbows or hands or balancing on one hand. It is also great for practising wait shifting between hands and reaching out to grasp
Our PODS make the perfect sensory space for tummy time! Our thick, foam mat is soft and well-padded so that children feel comfortable on a cushioned surface. The colourful, 360 degree graphics inside the POD encourage a child to spin and reach. Also the adjustable, sensory lighting stimulates an imaginative, relaxing environment.
Get in-touch with our team should you have any questions about our sensory PODS!