The advice I find myself telling parents the most is, “Please let your infant play on the floor more.”
A note about milestones again before I rant a bit…
- rolling begins around 4-5 months, rolling tummy to back usually comes first
- staying sitting up without help usually starts around 6 months
- pushing up onto their hands while on their tummy usually starts around 5-6 months
- tummy time tolerance should be at leasttttt 5 minutes around 6 months
- combat crawling is around 6-8 months
The reasons/excuses most parents tell me for not having their child on the floor more:
- They hate tummy time, we’ve tried everything!
- We have wood/tile floors so I don’t feel safe leaving him/her on the floor
- We have pets/dogs, so I don’t want him/her playing on the floor
- She/he likes to be in my arms
- We just haven’t had time
- oh, I didn’t know they had to start playing on the floor already
My responses to the above reasons/excuses:
- First I talk about why tummy time is important (discussed in this post).
- There are modifications you can do for tummy time (discussed in this post), and have you tried every toy or interesting activity possible with tummy time? IF your child really hates tummy time all the time, I recommend seeing your pediatrician to make sure it’s not something more serious
- Believe it or not, I have a number of parents that don’t have a single area rug in their house! Pleaseee get some kind of rug so your child can play on the floor safely. You can also get those foam puzzle pieces, but I’m not a huge fan, since they’re a pretty hard surface as well.
- Pleaseee section off an area for them to play if you have pets, it can be done!
- I’m sure every child wants to be in your arms, but I’m sure they want to play too, your face has to get boring to them at some point 🙂
- It’s very possible to use 5-10 minutes 3-5 times a day to work on floor time activities
- I always take a moment to educate my patients’ parents on milestones since it seems a few haven’t heard anything about them. (Milestones 2-4 months) (Milestones 6-9 months)
So with those excuses, I have to remind parents of the following:
- your infant will not get stronger if you’re holding them all the time and they’re not forced to hold their head up or hold their chest off the floor when they’re on their tummy
- your child’s balance will not magically improve if they’re never put in the position to practice sitting balance- ie they will not learn to sit by themselves if you’re always holding them in your lap
- your child will never learn to move to anything interesting if you’re always bringing the interesting items to them
- sitting on a bed or lying on their tummy on a bed is actually harder than sitting/lying on the floor
If you keep picking up your child or bringing them toys and other fine items,
- your child WILL learn that crying/whining incessantly will help them get out of a position that makes them exercise a little
- your child WILL learn that if they cry and reach their arms up in the air for you that you will pick them up so they don’t have to move by themselves
- your child WILL learn that if they cry and gesture towards a toy that you will bring them the toy
So please please please let your child play on the floor more, with supervision of course! 🙂 And yes of course, you will see some of the following expressions along the way, but your child will be stronger and have better balance, and thus more mobility soon!
And because I like a little competition every now and then, here’s a cute video on a baby crawling race 🙂 If you search you tube you will come across a lot!
Categories: Child Development