Why Tummy Time Is Important (Plus, 3 Engaging Activities)

As parents, finding ways to keep our little ones engaged while promoting their development is something we strive for daily to help them reach important milestones. One of the BEST activities you can do is tummy time! So you may be wondering why tummy time is important and what can you do that is FUN for your little one to really develop those skills.

I’m currently doing lots of tummy time with my twin girls so I want to share with you what is working for us. More importantly, the tummy time activities they LOVE to offer you new strategies for success.

Let’s get started!

Why Tummy Time Is Important For Your Baby’s Development


Tummy time is an essential activity for your little one’s development! This activity develops muscle control and strengthens a baby’s ability to move to hit important milestones like:

  • Rolling over
  • Crawling
  • Sitting up

Tummy time helps a baby become stronger but also reduces the risk of flat spots on the head and improves neck control.

Plus, it gives your babe the opportunity to explore their surroundings, by seeing things from a different angle.

Don’t get discouraged if your little one seems to dread it. There are ways to engage them by turning tummy time into playtime! With that said, let’s dive into three of my FAVORITE tummy time activities that my girls truly enjoy doing.

3 FUN Tummy Time Activities To Boost Motor Skills


Get creative by turning tummy time into playtime! Simple things you can do is bring toys into the mix or play peekaboo. Here are 3 tummy time activities that incorporate toys but aim to encourage fine motor development, grasping skills, and eye-tracking.

Note: Never leave your baby unattended while doing tummy time. I know that may sound silly because it’s self-explanatory but for safety purposes, always be present with your kiddo. 🙂

Use a Baby Mirror.

Targeted skill: Neck control

Using a baby mirror is a GREAT way to inspire your little one to hold up their head and improve neck control. The mirror allows them to look at their purdy sweet face as well as their surroundings.

Any baby mirror will do. This is the mirror I use because it’s an all-in-one toy that includes a baby mirror, a grasping toy, and high-contrast images for brain development.

How To Use It

Click Here to Watch The Short Clip.

tummy-time-activities-baby-mirror

Use a Link Ring.

Targeted skill: Grasping and reaching

Place a link ring or rings in front of your kiddo to encourage them to reach and grasp for it. These are the link rings we use that were recommended to us by our twin girl’s physical therapists in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit).

How To Use It

Click here to watch the short clip.

tummy-activities-baby-link-rings

Use a Bobby Pillow or Twin-Z-Pillow.

Targeted skills: Back, hip, legs, neck strength AND eye-tracking

This is an all-encompassing activity to target quite a few skills!

First, prop your baby over the bobby pillow or twin z pillow stomach first (facing the back). I always have my hand ready to guide my girls in case they get wobbly or start to slip.

On the top of the pillow, you can place toys. Then, to kick this activity UP another notch, place a black poster in front of the pillow (where your baby is facing) to help your little one focus on the toys or things you place in front of it. This is very helpful to develop eye-tracking skills. The black poster eliminates the “noise” allowing your babe to focus easier.

Since I’ve got twins, I use the twin z pillow (which I’m a HUGE fan of and here’s why). But if you don’t have twins, I recommend this boppy pillow below.

How To Use It

Click here to watch a short clip.

tummy-time-activities

Trying these tummy time activities might just surprise you with how quickly your babe comes around to enjoy it!

Now that you have a few FUN activities under your belt, let’s dive into different tummy time positions you can do.

4 Tummy Time Positions You Can Do


As mentioned, practicing tummy time with your sweet pea is a GREAT way to strengthen their muscles and coordination for early milestones like rolling over and crawling.

To change it up, try these different tummy time positions:

Arms tummy time.

Prop the upper body up with the arms. This position strengthens the arm and neck muscles AND it encourages a baby to reach forward, especially if you place a few toys in front of them. It also allows them to lift their chest higher off the ground which strengthens the abdominal area and improves trunk control.

You can also place a small towel roll under the chest to help your babe push up. Be sure the roll keeps the arms forward.

Have your baby do tummy time on YOU.

This is super easy and so fun. I love doing this with my girls after bottle feeding while we are chilling on the couch to let their bellies settle.

Place your babe on your chest for playtime with their arms forward to push up. You can do this on a couch, recliner, or the floor.

This position helps them to balance and lift from their arms while on your chest. It’s a less difficult exercise but it still builds those muscles needed for the neck and back! Plus, it’s a great way to bond with your little one too.

And no sleeping! Those restless nights may have you super exhausted, but never fall asleep with your babe in your arms.

Rolling tummy time with your hands under the chest.

This is a wonderful way to work on balance and strength!

Help your little one rollover from their left side onto their tummy and then do it again, from the right side. I do this on a playmat.

Once your baby rolls onto their stomach, place your hands under the chest and lift up gently to help them push up with its arms. Place a colorful book or toy in front of them to encourage reaching and grasping.

Boppy pillow tummy time.

As mentioned before, this is another position you can try. Simply lay your babe belly first across the back of the pillow to help them work on lifting their head and strengthening their back.

Now that you’re a tummy time pro, let’s touch on HOW long to do tummy time by age.

How Often To Do Tummy Time By Age


Depending on your baby’s age, tummy time should be done for different amounts of time daily. The duration will slowly increase as your baby grows more comfortable and stronger in its tummy-time position.

Infant to 1 Month

Do tummy time for 1 to 2 minutes 3 to 4 times a day since newborns tire out easily.

2 Months

Increase your tummy time sessions from 2 to 4 minutes 3 to 4 times daily.

3 Months

Now that your baby is growing stronger you can start to do tummy time a little longer. Aim for 3 to 5 minutes several times a day.

4 to 6 Months

By this time, a little one can hold their tummy time positions for longer stretches. Shoot for around 10-20 minutes per day (or 4 to 5 minutes each time).

7 to 9 Months

Increase tummy time sessions for 30 to 40 minutes per day (or around 5 to 6 minutes each time).

Now you may be wondering what to do IF your baby doesn’t like tummy time. Let’s cover that next.

What To Do If Your Baby Does NOT Like Tummy Time


It’s best to try shorter periods of tummy time to slowly introduce your sweet pea. Trying shorter periods of tummy time more often throughout the day often decreases crying episodes.

Let’s be honest, tummy time is HARD work on a little one! Because of this, it’s important to take lots of rest breaks and provide extra support.

In between rest breaks is a great opportunity to practice rolling and reaching for things, like a bright toy or one that lights up.

How To Incorporate Tummy Time Into Your Daily Routine


It may seem like all your baby does is eat, sleep, and poo, am I right or am I right?! So when DO you do tummy time?

The BEST time to do it is when your baby is awake and alert!

I do tummy time with my girls when they wake up from a nap BEFORE their bottles. This way, their stomachs are empty which means fewer spit-ups.

The routine is, as I heat up their bottles, I’m helping them on the playmat doing tummy time. This is also the perfect moment for stretching exercises to boost your child’s development.

To Wrap It Up


Now you know why tummy time is important. It’s super crucial to your little one’s development because it builds their muscles for early milestones like rolling over, crawling, and sitting up.

Definitely make it a part of your everyday routine! Taking the time to stimulate your baby’s development from 0 to 6 months is invaluable. With the fun tummy time activities we just covered like using a baby mirror, rink link, or boppy pillow, I believe it can easily become enjoyable for both of you!

Keep in mind it’s totally OK (and highly recommended) to take breaks throughout tummy time sessions. Enjoy every waking minute with your love bug as they will continue to reach new milestones every day.

With that said, I hope this post has given you some helpful tummy time ideas for successful playtime with your little one (or little ones). 🙂

Until the next post, I’m sending you all the positive parenting vibes!

With Gratitude,

Linds

What other tummy time activities do you recommend? I’m curious! Your input means a lot and helps other fellow parents who read this post.

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About The Author


Linds is the proud mom of two little miracles, Mono Mono twin girls, and one AMAZING older brother! She is the founder and content creator of Mono Mono Twins, Intensive Therapy for Kids, and Co-Founder of The LENN Foundation, a 510c3 that helps children with cerebral palsy receive grants for intensive therapies to thrive.

lindsey

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The contents of the Mono Mono Twins Site, such as text, graphics, images, and other material contained on the Mono Mono Twins Site (“Content”), are for informational purposes only. The Content is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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