Tips and Tricks Tuesdays- Playing in Side-lying

If your child is not strong enough to hold their hands up in the air or bring their arms to their mouth, you can try lying your child on their side to make it a little easier.

baby lying on side

Lying on one’s side can:

  • allow your child to look and study their hands more than they would if they don’t have the strength to hold their hands within their line of vision
  • help your child learn how to bring their hands to their mouth
  • help your child learn to transfer objects from one hand to another, since it may be too challenging when they’re lying on their back
  • help your child learn how to hold their hands in midline- helps your child learn where their body is in space and where the middle of their body is, which is important to help improve balance, which you need for nearly everything!
  • begin the practice of rolling from tummy –> back and back–>tummy since they’re already halfway there when they’re on their side!
  • work on head strength by having your little one practice turning their head to look up at you when they’re lying on their side
  • help your infant get off the back of their head to ensure head shape continues to develop normally

Remember that this isn’t just for infants, this can also apply to older children who have strength impairments that don’t allow them to hold their arms/hands in their line of vision.

Some strategies I use to work on side-lying:

  • simplest one is lying on the floor on one’s side
  • If your child can’t stay balanced lying on their side by themselves, you can roll a towel or pillow behind them to give them some support
  • you can use toys that only involve using 1 hand, or toys they can transfer from hand to hand (like small shapes or blocks) 
  • you can still work on strengthening by making them lift their arms in the air on their sides while reaching for an object higher up of the floor
  • you can use small and large balls as easier objects to try to manipulate when lying on one’s side
  • make sure to lie on both sides to work on both arms

Categories: Child Development, Tips and Tricks Tuesdays

Tags: , , , , , ,

2 replies

  1. My baby (almost 6 months old) doesn’t like to play on his sides. When I try to move him there, he resists are rolls over onto his back, as well as when we put towels there to support him. He can roll tummy to back but not back to tummy. He isn’t even interested. He can sit unsupported for about 15 minutes playing. When we try to roll him he stiffens up. Do you have any suggestions?


    • My son use to do the same and still sometimes does. My suggestion and I hope it works for you, lay behind him and hold him against you so he cant move and play with him that way.


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